Teen Challenge shows evidence of change

By Aruna Lolani ,

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Julie Wright of Vaiusu uta.

Julie Wright of Vaiusu uta.

Since Teen Challenge has been launched, it has counseled a number of young people referred to the programme by the Ministry of Justice, Courts and Administration. 

This is a programme that was initiated to help young people to make a difference in their lives despite the broken situations they have experienced at home or elsewhere. 

Director, Eric Poe has had about 30 cases that have been referred to by the M.J.C.A.

In a previous article in the Samoa Observer, Eric said Teen Challenge Samoa are trying their best to help shape their students into people they should become. 

“The progress of change; well I’d be lying if I said there’s a bit of change, it shouldn’t be something that comes from us, it comes from the kids themselves.”

 And he was right; people can change their feelings towards a certain issue or someone no matter how bad the situation is.

Samoa Observer had the opportunity to interview two young women named Julie Wright and Fuatai Tiumalu; who were a part of the Teen Challenge Samoa and how it has transformed their lives. 

These young women were brought in for cases regarding problems at home between relatives. 

In an inclusive interview with Julie Wright, a 22 year old from Vaiusu uta, she 

spoke about how this programme changed her life. 

“I got into the Teen Challenge Samoa because of what happened between me and my auntie. 

“I was never involved because it was some issues between her and my mother until one day when I went to the store and I came back home to find my mother and auntie arguing.

“But I think it was something that my auntie said that made me very angry, and also she was younger than my mother, in fact we are the same age.

“I didn’t want anyone to disrespect my mother and we got into a fight because of that.”

“So that’s why I got put into this programme.

“When I went to court for what I did, I felt so ashamed and scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me.

“I was really scared because I thought I was going to go to jail but thankfully they referred me to the Teen Challenge Samoa programme.

Julie has been attending every class and lesson for the Teen Challenge Samoa.

So how has this programme helped her?

“Well first of all, it has helped me to get rid of anger and turn away from it because I realized that anger will always get me in trouble.

“Secondly, I’ve learned to go to church and listen to the words being preached have helped in understanding the right kind of behaviour .

“Being here, has made me learn about boundaries between family members such as my aunties and sisters because honestly where I came from, I didn’t understand any of that.

Fuatai Tiumalu from Mulifanua, Satui.
Fuatai Tiumalu from Mulifanua, Satui.

“Teen Challenge has been a huge support to me and all of us here and I’m thankful for being a part of a programme that has changed my life.”

Another young woman of the Teen Challenge Samoa, 22 year old Fuatai Tiumalu from Mulifanua, Satui also spoke of how it has changed her life. 

“When my dad had a new wife, my life was going backwards and I still felt there was nothing wrong with whatever I was doing.

“I stopped going to church and I wasn’t part of our youth anymore. 

“My family is not really a Christian family, I mean they do go to church but to me they never used any of the words from the Bible, We never followed any of it; we just always thought that we were always right.

“But it was the time I had a fight with my father’s wife that I ended up standing in court and found my way here to this programme. 

“I was always getting angry so my first lesson here was never to let my anger cause me to sin.

“My second was I try to live by these words every time I get angry and it works. 

“Since Teen Challenge became a part of my life, I’ve changed.

Being in court, that was my first time and I was scared. 

“I’ve never faced different people before and at the same time I felt sorry for my dad and regretted what I have done.

“I know it was his wife’s fault but I should have thought of my dad first.

“So now everything is okay again and my dad even told me if I need anything, then let him know.

“Since I came to this programme, this issue has never been heavy on my mind again, it has slowly encouraged my spirit to be far away from it.

“It changed me, and I always turn to God’s words if I get angry. 

“And Eric told me if I love my dad then I should apologize but the thing was my dad apologized to me first and I told him it’s not right, it’s not right for him to apologize to me.

“I learned that parents don’t have to apologize to their children, it’s always the other way around no matter what they do. They are our parents. 

“The only person we should all be asking for forgiveness from is God himself.

“I’m back to church life and I’m in the youth again and that makes me happy.

“So I’ve learned that when people argue, instead of helping light the fire, help to put it out. 

That’s the right way to go.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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