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Addictions recovery program teaming with nonprofit to help veterans

Young people will be helping elderly Goshen military veterans.

Posted on Nov. 13, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 13, 2013 at 5:01 p.m.

ELKHART — A local men’s rehabilitation center is planning a new kind of community service.

Teen Challenge, a local faith-based addictions recovery program, is teaming up with Goshen’s Celebrate America, a nonprofit focused on helping veterans.

Starting in 2014, Teen Challenge students will do home repairs for veterans over age 75 in Goshen. Celebrate America will give Teen Challenge $11 per hour for the work, but that money won’t go to the students. Instead, it will fund Teen Challenge’s operating costs.

“The target for the program is senior veterans and their widows,” said Mearl Grabill of Goshen’s Celebrate America.

He said that Teen Challenge was chosen for this project because “we saw an opportunity for young people to have contact with the greatest generation.”

“Our hope is that this will encourage cross-generational contact and it will be a win-win situation,” Grabill said.

Andy Collins, director of North Central Indiana Teen Challenge, said that he sees the idea as a way to give his students an opportunity to use what they are learning.

“We teach (students) the Bible,” Collins said. “You can’t teach men in a classroom for a year and not give them an outlet to serve. At some point in the program, it’s about giving back.”

Collins said that the plan to have Teen Challenge students help veterans has been in the works for a couple of years. The effort is just now gaining steam, he said, and it needs the support of the community.

Grabill said that Celebrate America needs to raise the funds to pay Teen Challenge the $11 per hour for the work. That’s where the community help comes in. Celebrate America is hoping that one or two individuals or organizations will step up to fund the development of the veterans assistance program.

Local churches and community groups can get involved by identifying veterans in need, Grabill said.

How to help:

Goshen’s Celebrate America will host a kickoff event for the new veterans assistance program at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the First Baptist Church of Goshen, 1011 S. Indiana Ave. The public is invited to attend to learn more. For more information call Mearl Grabill at 354-2628.

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