Since the fall of 2013, Teen Lifeline has trained a group of 71 youth ministers and youth organization workers on our Life Lived Better curriculum for middle school and high school students. In these trainings, we see many of the trainees get very excited about how this training and curriculum could open a door for them in their local school.

One of these facilitators, Josh, worked with a group of students in a Keller ISD school. Included in the group was a girl who had struggled with drug abuse in the past. She was open about this with the group members and was enjoying the skills and tools she was learning, but she especially appreciated the relationships she was building each week through this group.

As she got to know the group even better, she was excited to share with them about her upcoming celebration of being clean of harmful substances for 1 year. In sharing this, she invited the group to join her at a celebration party.

Josh later shared with us that he did not know if any of the other group members would be able to make it to the celebration. He was hopeful that the other students would show up, but he also knew that there would be several factors that could keep them from coming. These students had only known each other for a short amount of time, so for them to remember, make travel arrangements and prioritize a party centered around not using substances would be a big deal.

Because of the relationship he had built in group with this girl and motivated by his skepticism that anyone else would show up, he decided he should make it a priority to go, uncertain of whether he would be the only non-family member there to help celebrate.

To his surprise and joy, every single member of the group chose to come and support their new friend. Through this Teen Lifeline group, these students were bonded through the renewed journey they were all choosing to embark on together.

This is what our groups are about: building relationships that renew, building skills and tools that aid in the renewal process, creating space that encourages a positive way of renewing life and celebrating when this renewal is realized so that it is also reinforced.

These and many other students are encouraged in their renewal process on a regular basis. They get to see what it looks like when their peers choose a better life, and at the same time, facilitators like Josh are there to model the kinds of behaviors that cultivate a life of renewal.

What a blessing it is to see these life changes as these teenagers’ stories are renewed.