Teen Challenge Monterey Bay Student Spotlight: Steffanie

Student Spotlight: Steffanie

One of the most unique things about Teen Challenge Monterey Bay as a recovery program is the focus on the healing of the whole person. This free 13-month program allows students (people who become a part of the program) to not only face and heal their life-controlling addiction but to engage in a safe community that helps them reintegrate into the world through education, work-study or trade.

Why is this significant? In typical rehab programs, it’s 28 days and out. This offers limited support and limited life skills to help students really keep their life-controlling addiction at bay. Teen Challenge programs offer so much more. We’re doing a series featuring a few of our students nearing the end of their program and what Teen Challenge has done for them.

Meet Steffanie — full of life, passion, and vigor. It wasn’t always like that for her. We sat down and asked her a few questions about her experience and what’s next for her. 

What brought you to Teen Challenge?

 I was in jail in June 2018, I was charged with 2nd degree armed robbery, sentenced to 1-2 years in prison. I had been in and out of jail for years and was addicted to heroin for 10 years. I was stuck in a destructive cycle. I had heard about a new thing they were doing that instead of sending you to prison, they were giving an option of the Felony Drug Program. The judge agreed to let me do this program since going to jail and getting back out again wasn’t helping me make better decisions. I had never heard of Teen Challenge before, but instead of going to prison, I was blessed to come here. 

Can you tell me about the transformation you saw in yourself?

I don’t have an exact moment. I would say the entire program and the love I received when I got here and falling in love with Jesus again. I was a Christian before I got here, but I had gone my own way. 

 I never had love, I never had any self-esteem, nothing that made me feel valuable or worthy. The love of Jesus, the amazing staff, and my loving sisters is what did it for me. Just slowly every day engraining Jesus, reading the Bible. Reminding us that we are worth something of value. Reminding us that we aren’t just a junkie to be thrown away, or that we should be in jail or be on the street is what did it. It took a long time. I wouldn’t say that there was a moment that just ‘clicked’, but it just ‘clicked.’ 

“The love of Jesus, the amazing staff, and my loving sisters is what did it for me.”


What excites you the most about Grace Harbor (Teen Challenge’s newest center)?

When you enter phase 4 of the Teen Challenge Program, we are allowed to pick from 3 different tracks for the Intern program. I presented the Rescue Mission for my track. I am the outreach coordinator for Grace Harbor, that’s my 4th phase assignment. I want to give women what I have received, I want to show them that if I can do it, they can do it. Anything is possible with Jesus. 

I tried to get free from addiction on my own strength, and it didn’t work. I want to be the voice for the ones who don’t have a voice. Freeing women from human trafficking and those who are in abusive relationships is my passion. I just want to help people the way I was helped. I just want to give back the gift that I was given. 

What about Grace Harbor will provide women the help you are describing?

Women knowing they have some place safe to go. Love. You aren’t thrown away and you are worth something. I’ve never had that before, and that is what the Teen Challenge Programs bring to people. Grace Harbor will allow us to help so many more women and women with children. Allowing the homeless to come in, and we serve them. The staff aren’t just a bunch of ‘normal’ people who have never experienced drugs and alcohol. We have been through it, and we understand and have compassion, sympathy, and kindness for what they are experiencing. That is what makes the difference. 

What is one thing that you could tell people about Teen Challenge?

 We don’t give up on people. There is such a thing as hope, we do believe in you. The answer to everything is faith. Nothing is impossible with God. If you want it, we will help you. And we will never ever give up on you. That is what is so amazing about Teen Challenge. 

“We don’t give up on people. There is such a thing as hope, we do believe in you.”

In your opinion, what would your life look like if Teen Challenge didn’t exist?

 Before I came to Teen Challenge, I was running around the streets of Stockton. I was homeless, I was a heroin user, I was involved in gangs. Without the Freedom Women’s center, I would be in prison or dead. 

What makes the Teen Challenge Program Different than other programs?

 What I love about Teen Challenge is that I came straight from jail, but a lot of the other ladies were rescued in the state they are in by the Teen Challenge staff members. When they get here, we help stabilize them and then we help them become a functioning member of society. We don’t keep them for just 28 days, and then send them along. We teach them how to have a new way of life — how to be the person that God made them to be. Not only do we focus on helping them with their addiction, but we teach them life skills, and job skills. There is Hope & Life.

“We don’t keep [people] for just 28 days, and then send them along. We teach them how to have a new way of life — how to be the person that God made them to be.”

Grace Harbor Update April 2020

Construction for Grace Harbor Women’s Center
is well underway!

Grace Harbor Women’s Center, Teen Challenge Monterey Bay’s newest center is currently under construction. This center will provide beds for 50 women on a multi-month recovery & Christian Discipleship program, and an additional 42 beds for at-risk & homeless women (& children) on a day-to-day basis. The center will also contain the Lighthouse Treasures Shoppe, TCMB Catering & Rustic Table Restaurant, and a Pregnancy Resource Center.

Even with the current Shelter In Place orders, we are able to move forward with Grace Harbor construction because of its essential role to the community of offer a safe place for women to find freedom from life-controlling addictions and issues. As an added bonus, students from our Pajaro Men’s Center in the trade track are able to put their knowledge and skill toward this amazing project.

Construction is moving fast. Here are just a few things that were accomplished this week:

  • We finished the framing of the walls and ceilings for 1/3 of the floor area.
  • The exterior masonry wall footing for the exit corridor was poured.
  • Prepped the steel beam and columns for the folding wall that will separate the dining area from the multi-propose room.
  • Underfloor plumbing was installed for the Café section.

The completion of Grace Harbor Women’s center is at the top of our list of projects for Teen Challenge.

Our current women’s center is at capacity and sadly have to turn away women who are seeking the help they need. Grace Harbor will allow us to immediately get women into the program. Teen Challenge Monterey Bay has been and is committed to offering our programs for free.

Written on one of the posts, I John 4:4, “You are of God, my children, and have overcome them; because greater is He that is in you than He who is in the world.”

While we are a self-sustaining ministry, with funding coming from our endeavors of the Rustic Table and other programs, in this time of uncertainty, we need your help. Most of our services that our students participate in have been slowed or ceased. The need to provide a safe place and a way of freedom for men and women facing life-controlling issues has not. We need your help to not only raise funds to finish the Grace Harbor project but to also help sustain our staff and students through this time.

Would you be willing to help?

There are several ways that you can help continue the work at Grace Harbor and Teen Challenge Monterey Bay as a whole. First and foremost, would you consider praying for our staff and students? We know that the challenges we face are opportunities to see God work!

You can also contribute financially, if you are able.

Lastly, you can donate assets to Teen Challenge Monterey Bay. We have partnered with Orchard Alliance on the ability to donate assets in lieu of a monetary donation. They manage donations of Shares, Assets, Land, Yachts, etc.

All donations to Teen Challenge are tax deductible.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us, our students, and those we serve. We look forward to sending more updates on Grace Harbor and all of Teen Challenge Monterey Bay as we witness God doing amazing things in and through the lives of those we encounter.

Important Message from Teen Challenge Monterey Bay

Mike Borden MBTC

Important message from Teen Challenge Monterey Bay

Dear Teen Challenge Monterey Bay Family and Supporters,


In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the Teen Challenge Monterey Bay (TCMB) family has fallen on desperate times. Up until this year, TCMB has been able to self-support through enterprises, event services, work calls, and donations from local stores. As a result of the COVID-19 “Shelter in Place” order, all enterprises and event services have been shut down.

We are asking for help and support from our TCMB family and supporters. Any help is greatly appreciated. Your donation will provide food, shelter, and emergency services to an underserved community and allow our centers to continue to operate at capacity. Through this crisis, the Pajaro Rescue Mission has kept its doors open and continues to feed the underprivileged every day and night. Your donation will help keep all of our centers open during this time. Our centers include: The Pajaro Rescue Mission, The Joseph Family House, The Pajaro Men’s Center, The Freedom Women’s Center, Freedom Family House, Coast Counties Teen Challenge, Sierra Pacific Teen Challenge, and High Desert Adult and Teen Challenge.

TCMB is a long-term residential program and we serve men, women, and children with life-controlling issues. TCMB does not receive any government funding. We earn approximately 90% of our budget through work projects and enterprises, where our students learn skills and how to support themselves upon the completion of their program.

We do not charge our students anything; their program is completely free.

All donations sent to our center are tax-deductible. Please know that by supporting us in this time you are partnering with us as we continue to save lives and support the underprivileged.

Please make checks payable to Teen Challenge Monterey Bay/TCMB and mail directly to:

Teen Challenge Monterey Bay
P.O. Box 1807
Watsonville, Ca 95077

or click on this link to donate via our website

Forever in His Service,

Mike Borden
Executive Director

Teen Challenge Monterey Bay is a non-profit, Christian 501(c)(3) organization, tax ID#77-0151684. Gifts are deductible as charitable contributions for Federal and State income tax purposes, as allowed by tax regulations.