Inaugural Teen Challenge Sled for Eternity Event Huge Success!
by Scott A. Sumner
It was a bitterly cold Saturday morning March 1st in Thunder Bay, but that didn’t stop avid snowmobilers from coming out for a great cause. “ Teen Challenge is a Ministry that helps men and women with life controlling addictions. We do youth outreach and have a men's home in Thunder Bay and one for women in Brandon Manitoba. They come in and live with us for 1 year and it is a holistic approach for their spiritual, physical and mental life,” said Robby Ahuja, Executive Director for Northwestern Ontario Teen Challenge. “ We are located on the corner of Syndicate and Ridgeway in Thunder Bay where we have 8 men now and after we raise another $25,000 and can finish renovations will expand to 10 men.”
Robby is from Abbotsford, BC and went through Teen Challenge himself. “ I was addicted to crack cocaine, in and out of jail and went to Teen Challenge in 2006 and finished the program. In 2008 there was a job opening in Thunder Bay, Ontario and I live here now, am married with three kids and my wife is currently pregnant,” smiles Robby. “ Drugs and alcohol got me to a place where I had nowhere to turn and I was going to die so I was walking the streets. Teen Challenge did a 180 degree turn on me. I had no hope for a future and my life was going nowhere. Today I have hope, a plan and purpose for my life. They introduced me to a relationship with Jesus and I have now seen thousands of men and women have this opportunity as well.”
Teen Challenge has about 10,000 centres worldwide and 13 in Canada. They have seen great results in Thunder Bay with guys that are now working government jobs, are bus drivers and labourers and those that have gotten married.
Sled Eternity 2014 has been done for 8 years in Winnipeg and it has grown and received more donations each year. “ Everyone has had a blast doing it Winnipeg so we decided to try in Thunder Bay for the first time. We got 115 riders out, which is phenomenal, and way more that expected. We grossed $30,000 in a first year,” said Robby. “ Many people registered on line and 25 people fundraised. We gave away a used 2006 Yamaha this year and next year will give away a 2014 Yamaha Viper to the top fundraiser. The riders got a trail pass for the day, lunch at Silver Mountain and then dinner at the Kakabeka Legion as well as a tee shirt. People enjoyed it and the funds will really help out our organization.”
Each year Teen Challenge also do a 36 hole golf marathon at Whitewater GC in one day with 18 holes in the morning and an 18 best ball in the afternoon. At this event they give away a used car. Last years event raised $50,000 with 36 golfers.
“ We don’t receive any government funds. In 2013 we needed to raise $300,000 to purchase our new home to expand from 4 men to 10 men and we did it is 6 months. The support here in Thunder Bay is phenomenal.” said Robby For further information go to www.teenchallenge.tc or phone 345-2277