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North-east addiction charity gears up for Texan team visit

Gordon Cruden from Teen Challenge North East Scotland
Gordon Cruden from Teen Challenge North East Scotland

Aid and expertise is being flown-in from the United States to help north-east teenagers in their battle against damaging addictions.

A nine-strong team of experts from Teen Challenge Texas will make the 4,600 mile trip to support the work of the charity’s two local bases.

The six women and three men will bring their expertise to those battling addiction at Teen Challenge’s men’s addiction recovery centre at Sunnybrae near Fyvie and the women’s refuge at Benaiah, near Mintlaw.

Each of the Christian organisation’s centres have provided help to those dealing with addiction issues since they opened in 2003 and 2009 respectively.

Class-based studies, counselling, work duties and recreational activities are all offered at the residential homes.

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The Texan contingent already runs eight rehabilitation programmes across their home state. They arrive on Monday and will stay for two weeks.

Gordon Cruden, area manager for Teen Challenge North East Scotland, said the visit shows the battle against addiction is not confined to one country.

And he said that despite being thousands of miles apart, the Texan team and their Aberdeenshire counterparts will face similar issues.

Mr Cruden said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Texas team and know they’ll bring great encouragement to our staff and residents, as we share good practice.

“Addiction isn’t a North East Scotland issue, it’s a global epidemic, with our Texan friends dealing with the same problems day-in, day-out, as we do, in our work to support men and women to break free from addiction.

“It’ll be fantastic to share knowledge and experience.

“We’ll also make sure we have a lot of fun, showing the team some sights of Scotland.”

George Thomas, president and chief executive of the Adult and Teen Challenge of Texas, said it was a good chance to pass on some of the knowledge they have picked up over the last eight decades.

He said: “Our missions’ team is thrilled to visit, get to know, and learn from the staff and students at Teen Challenge of North East Scotland.

“We hope to assist the men’s and women’s homes through teaching classes, exchanging ideas, leading chapel, and sharing what we’ve learned from over 80 years of combined experience with the organisation.”

Teen Challenge was founded in New York in 1958 and has grown to be one of the world’s largest addiction recovery groups.

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