Meet September “Do the Right Thing” winner: Sheila Thomas of Teen Challenge
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Workers and volunteers at Teen Challenge of the Mid-South meet people on the very worst days of their lives.
So it takes someone very special to help them turn their lives around.
Sheila Thomas has been helping people with life-controlling addictions for 14 years.
That’s why she’s this month’s “Do the Right Thing” winner.
Sheila Thomas said, “I love people. I love doing God’s work.”
She started with Teen Challenge 14 years ago, first answering phones in the administrative offices and now as head of the Women’s Program.
Sheila added, “I initially said no, but then the Lord began to deal with me, and so I said yes, if you want me I will do it. And so I’ve been down there for four years and I absolutely love it.”
Husband John Thomas said, “Sheila Thomas defines Proverbs 31, woman in my life. She’s the most virtuous, integrity-filled woman I have ever met. And anybody that’s in her presence knows that she loves God and she loves them. And she changes lives by just being someone’s friend.”
For Sheila, Teen Challenge is a family affair. Her husband John heads up the Men’s Program.
John said, “Sheila and I have been in ministry together had the privilege of being in the same car together, going to work together for almost 20 years, we’ve been in ministry that long together doing the same thing, and she’s my partner in ministry and in life and everything else.”
But the Thomases are just two of the many people who keep Teen Challenge working.
Roger Helle said, “After 38 years in Teen Challenge, my wife and I believe we’ve got the best staff team that we’ve ever had.”
Helle credits a lot of the success of Teen Challenge to his staff. They typically only meet people with life-controlling addictions when they’ve hit rock-bottom.
Helle added, “Once they know that they are loved and that this is a safe place, and we have to earn that trust. It just doesn’t happen the day they come in, so over time the fact that they understand by our actions that we really love them and this is a safe place then healing begins to take place. Teen Challenge has one of the highest success rates of any program around helping people find freedom, and that’s what gets all of us up every morning.”