Audrey Ephraim Women’s Center strives for love and healing

Audrey Ephraim Women’s Center strives for love and

Adult and Teen Challenge Pastor Don Nuttall (top) and intern Brittany Barkley (bottom right) conduct an afternoon class with a group of students at the Audrey Ephraim Women’s Center. Enquirer Democrat Photo by Jackson Wilson.

By JACKSON WILSON

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

Carlinville now has a new place for struggling women to come together and find new life.

Located in the former Cross Church building on Hurricane Drive, the Audrey Ephraim Women’s Center faith program is quickly grabbing the attention of many people – including Congressman Rodney Davis, who previously visited the facility. When Davis returned to the District of Columbia, he shared positive words about the business on the floor of the House of Representatives.

“For someone of that authority to come and encourage these people when he could of had a lot of other things to do was amazing,” praised Adult and Teen Challenge Illinois Pastor Don Nuttall. “One of his biggest encourgements was when he told our women that he was watching and very interested in how they were doing here. He added by saying that the biggest thing we could do for our program is to complete what we started. And, that’s something that a lot of these ladies struggle with. As a matter of fact, one particular student of mine said in these words that ‘she had never finished anything in her entire life.’ Then, to have a person from a national stage come along and share those powerful words was very beneficial to those women as well as the ones who are putting this together. That really gave us the help and motivation we needed.”

The Audrey Ephraim Women’s Center – associated with the Adult and Teen Challenge – provides a 13-month class that  gives every student Bible-based teaching in quality Christian curriculum, group mentoring,   individual advising, life-skills training, GED classes, recreational opportunities, balanced meals, community service opportunties, daily devotions and prayer time. The Adult and Teen Challenge’s purpose is to steer people away from destructive habits like drugs, alcohol, abuse and many other life-controlling issues in order to find freedom. Residents are housed in safe domitories with staff members providing daily support.

Upon graduation from the program, students will be rewarded with transitional support items and may qualify for Adult and Teen Challenge internships down the road.

“Back in the day, I had a cousin that struggled with alcoholism,” said Nuttall. “I buried her around her 40th birthday and I remember saying that we didn’t have an Adult and Teen Challenge center in Illinois at all. We didn’t have any place to send her. So, from that very day, I told myself that if I have the opportunity to bring something different to the table in Illinois, I’m all in.”

The Audrey Ephraim Women’s Center opened for business in Carlinville on January 21. Men’s facilities were already existent  in Peoria and Chicago, so Nuttall was all in for females to have their own unity for proper growth.

“Even for the obvious reasons why men and women would be separated in a residential center, the needs are very different,” stated Nuttall. “Each gender has its own dilemmas and mindsets of struggle, but there’s usually more issues with the ladies than the men. Women have their own unique need. Since we’d never worked for an Adult and Teen Challenge before, we wanted to know how other people do it but we also didn’t want to be so overcome by the pattern that someone else follows. Our mindset was that we were aiming to create our own home and family here. Our students love one another, they are looked out for and we are all here for each other. That was our first job and now we have established a very nurturing environment here.”

Although this particular center doesn’t serve teenagers at the time, the staff looks  to expand the age range as the business grows.

The Audrey Ephraim Women’s Center can serve up to 15 students at this particular time. After minor septic work is done, the capacities are expected to increase.

For more information or to submit an application, call 217-930-2134 or send an email to donn@teenchallenge.org.