Sussex County Council heard from Delmarva Teen Challenge this week, as Bob Carey, who has been with the organization for 20 years, offered council members some statistics about their work — locally, nationally and throughout the world. He said there are 1,100 Teen Challenge locations, and Delaware was the last state to get one, with the facility located at the former Seaford Rescue Mission.
Carey described Teen Challenge as a faith-based rescue mission and said that, while the name might sound as if they only treat young people — which they did when they first started 52 years ago — he said the average age of a man who goes through the year-long program is between 32 and 36.
“A strong part of our success — and our success rate is 86 percent — is that we are a faith-based program. Addiction counts for a lot of the breakup of the family unit, and this program shows men that they can be the godly father and husband he was meant to be.”
Carey shared some of his own story, of coming to Teen Challenge after an alcohol addiction came to a head, and the help he received from the program. The council also heard from Teen Challenge participants about the assistance they have received.
Dustin, from Milford, who has been at the facility for 10 months, said the program “restored my life and gave me dreams again.”
Carey said they have plans to build 5,000-square-foot education building and have hopes to open up a women’s center, as well.
“We are here for the long haul,” he said. “We want to help Sussex County and the Delmarva Peninsula get back on its feet.”
Carey said they receive no federal funding and have car washes, a thrift store and other fundraising mechanisms.
“We are open for whosoever needs help. We wanted to you to be aware we are an active resource for the court system and are here to partner with you. Addiction is no respecter of persons. It affects upper class, lower class and all races.”
For more information about Delaware Teen Challenge, visit www.delawareteenchallenge.org online.
In other news from the Nov. 13 county council meeting, the council decided to wait until they get a definition of “veteran” before they move forward with plans to change the fees for marriage and civil union ceremonies for military personnel.
They voted this week to waive all those fees for military personnel, rather than simply give out-of-state active military personnel in-state rates for marriage licenses and ceremonies. They also changed the proposed amendment language to include “veterans.”
It was originally worded so that “active military” would be able to get in-state rates, no matter where they lived, but in expanding the reach of the benefit to veterans, as well, they said they wanted to make sure they had a legal definition clearly stated.
County Administrator Todd Lawson also took time at this week’s meeting to thank several County departments for their assistance during “Super Storm Sandy.”
He also reported that communications were an important part of the County response. He said Web hits were up to 57,000 views, Facebook followers jumped 200 percent, and their Facebook reach was 44,203 people. He said they got 32,000 views on YouTube for the new video updates that the Emergency Operations Center produced throughout the storm to update people.
Lawson said assessments of the damage from the storm were still ongoing. He asked for people with any damage to call (302) 856-7366 so they can accurately report it to the federal government should Sussex County qualify for relief.
He said that, in regards to a possible federal disaster declaration that would involve relief from the government, they are mainly looking for people who had had damage to their primary residence that required them to vacate the home to repair it.
But, when asked by Councilman George Cole about docks, piers, tree damage, or damage to second homes or investment properties — which would include many of the properties near the beaches — Lawson said it “is still a good thing to know about it. It might not help with federal declaration, but it is still good to know.”
The council will not meet on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
For more information on Sussex County council meetings, visit the County Web site at www.sussexcountyde.gov.