A Teen Life #TBT

A Teen Life #TBT

Graduation. A wedding. Marriage. An AWESOME new job.


Life is full of exciting twists and turns, and during this time of transition, I am honored to partner with Teen Life in a Communications role. This opportunity is definitely a God-thing as it allows me to continue my passion for working with teenagers, especially those who are often overlooked, and it also lets me use my education background and skill-set in planning, organizing, writing, editing and interacting with people.


For those of you who do not know what Teen Life is, let me enlighten you! Teen Life is a non-profit organization who seeks out teens where they are, in the schools. Through support groups and monthly meetings for teen parents, Teen Life is doing things that many churches are not able to do because of their unique relationship with the area schools.


I cannot say enough good things about this non-profit that has had a huge impact on my life since I was in High School. I am thankful for the opportunity to reach teenagers who are struggling and have no where else to turn. I am excited to see where the Lord takes Teen Life and who He is able to reach through the work that they are doing.


I firmly believe that every interaction, every conversation that we have with others is a link in their chain. We don’t know what links have already been in place or what links will be added in the future, but kingdom work asks us to do our part during that specific time and let the Lord take care of the rest. Teen Life may not be the link that completely changes a teenager’s life. They will probably not be the link that completely stops bad decisions, self-doubt and questioning; however, in my eyes, that shouldn’t be the goal in the first place.


Teen Life does an excellent job of meeting teens where they are, bringing up questions and introducing resources that can help a teen see a different path. It is an avenue for conversation without judgement, help without a catch and biblical truth without a sermon. We get to help teenagers see the characteristics, relationships and resources they may already have that can change their path. We offer new perspectives, a better attitude or a light bulb moment to help these teenagers feel more equipped to face what is going on in their lives. My hope is that these links, this foundation, might one day make a life change easier, achieving goals seem more realistic, and help these teenagers see that there is a way to live life better.


Are you a teenager who needs a safe place to talk? Are you unsure of where to turn next?
Teen Life is for you.


Are you passionate about helping teens but can’t find the opportunity to get into their schools?
Teen Life is for you.


Are you looking for a cause to partner with through prayer or giving?
Teen Life is for you.


I wrote this post a little over three years ago for my personal blog. I am actually laughing at how much has changed in that short time. Not only has my family grown, but Teen Life has grown and changed just as much!

Just for the sake of clarity, I changed the name in this blog to Teen Life, but when I originally wrote this, we were still called Teen Lifeline. In three short years…


  • We have changed our name, our logo, and our website.
  • We have added two more staff members.
  • We started a podcast.
  • We stopped holding monthly teen parent meetings for the best reason possible – we wrote a curriculum specifically for teen parents and use it in Support Groups on their campuses!
  • We have trained over 180 volunteer facilitators.
  • We went to the National Youth Workers Convention and from that are beginning to expand our reach to schools outside of Texas.
  • We have helped over 5,000 students through Support Groups since 2009.
  • Last year alone, we facilitated 103 Support Groups in 14 school districts!

This is a lot of change. I hope you will celebrate the change with us, because we couldn’t do it without you – our encouragers, supporters, donors, facilitators, counselors and prayer warriors. I can’t wait to see where Teen Life is three years from now!

Karlie Duke was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is our Communications Director. She is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories.

Beverly Ross Talks Grief (Rebroadcast)

Beverly Ross Talks Grief (Rebroadcast)

Listen & Subscribe:  iTunes | Android | Google PlayRSS


Grief comes in many different forms, but it is something everyone deals with at some point in life. In this episode, Chris and Karlie are joined by Beverly Ross to talk about the the basics of grief, what to expect from a grieving teenager and how we can better support teens who are grieving. Don’t panic about grief, there is a way to bring hope and encouragement to difficult circumstances!

In this episode, you’ll find out…
  • Some of the unique ways teenagers deal with grief.
  • Advice about what can be said or done to better walk alongside a teen experiencing grief.
  • Signs that a teen might need to seek help from a professional.
  • Examples of grief-producers, especially for teenagers.
  • How to use the acronym PERS (Physical, Emotional, Relational, Spiritual) to positively cope with grief.
  • Ways we as a community can surround and encourage those who are grieving.
Ask yourself…
  • Am I putting too much pressure on myself to do or say the perfect thing?
  • Could this teenager be talking to someone else if they aren’t talking to me?
  • Am I aware of important dates that I need to remember and recognize?
Go ask a teen…
  • What do you need?
  • What is it like for you right now? Tell me your story.
  • What would you like to do for holidays? How would you like to hold space?

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us:

Beverly Ross, M.A., LPC-S, is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and the Executive Director of Wise County Christian Counseling. She is experienced in dealing with marriage and family matters, as well as individual issues such as depression, anxiety and grief support.  Beverly is a sought-after speaker and an international advocate for women’s ministries.  Follow her on Twitter!

Chris Robey is the Program Director for Teen Lifeline, Inc. Earlier in his career while working as a youth minister, Chris earned a Masters Degree in Family Life Education from Lubbock Christian University to better equip his work with teenagers and families. Chris’ career and educational opportunities have exposed him to teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Follow him on Twitter!
Karlie Duke started working as Teen Lifeline’s Communications Director after graduating from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Communications with a minor in Family Studies. Karlie has worked with teenagers for the past 5 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!
Have a question?
If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
Tap Your Resources

Tap Your Resources

On Tuesday of this week, I had the privilege of being at a resource fair for one of our local school districts. The point was to have several organizations come out and highlight the services they provide especially to students, elementary through high school.

These times are always good because even though I may know several of the organizations, I learn more about what they do every time.

I believe we live in a unique area in terms of collaboration among non-profit organizations rather than the competition that I hear about in other areas. That said, I hope that other areas are starting to shift to more of a collaborative model knowing that no single organization can provide all of the answers.

By far, Teen Life was the smallest organization represented at the resource fair, but I was still able to see the value in the services we provide and how what we do complements what these other bigger organizations are able to do through their network and resources.

It was amazing to hear how much help is really out there, and the one word that kept coming up was FREE. Free housing, food, counseling, job search, health screening & training. Amazing! People really are wanting to help, and they don’t want there to be any barriers to getting that help. The services typically require certain forms, financial status or location, but not all of them. Because they are free, that just means that they can prioritize how people get help.

The purpose here is to simply share what I heard about these organizations yesterday. I won’t get into the requirements, you can find that out from them. I also hope that as you read, it may prompt you to think about the service that could be most helpful. Or maybe there is a service not listed that you know of – help us out by sharing that with all of us!



ACH Services offers so many different programs and services, there is no way I can outline all of them here. Two of the things they talked about at the fair were the homeless shelter and the FREE counseling for youth and families. And when they say free, they mean free. The counseling service is a no-fee-at-all service. They typically see people for 3-4 sessions, but can see them up to 6 months. The goal is to understand the situation they are facing and help them form a plan of action they can use to help things get better.

Their shelter is exactly that, a place for teenagers without a home to live. This can be temporary or longer term. They work with teens up to 17, and while they are there, they must participate in the program. This is not a place to go and sleep the day away. It includes school and chores that the teen must do or face being removed from the home.

These are just two of the amazing programs, check out more on their website, ACHServices.org.



The Community Enrichment Center, CEC, also provides a lot of resources beyond what just students would need. This includes a food pantry, housing, job search and High School equivalency prep, as well as many other programs. The CEC is very much about helping families stay together, find the resources they need and move forward on their own. They do not intend to keep people in services for extended periods of time. This being the case, families that do get help tend to succeed and the youth in their homes learn valuable life skills about hard work and how to seek out the help they need rather than staying stuck.


The Women’s Center

Resources that stood out from The Women’s Center included abuse prevention training and counseling. They also offer rape crisis and victim services. This applies to anyone connected to a rape situation. If you know of someone that has been raped, or you suspect may have been, this is the place to go. They offer guidance and counseling, including group counseling, for people dealing with this traumatic event.



I am personally connected to these organizations for two reasons. I meet monthly with the Suicide Awareness Coalition that the LOSS team was begun out of. Also, I have called the Crisis Line for family and friends in need that MHMR provides. Both of these services are extremely helpful. If you don’t know who else to call I highly recommend starting with the MHMR Crisis Line, and they will direct you where you can get help. This line is for anyone of any age that is dealing with a crisis issue. It is completely anonymous, and they will help you find the resource you need and even follow up with you. For those more tech savvy, you can even text the local 817 number during regular business hours.


The Salvation Army

Who doesn’t know about The Salvation Army? They do so much good for so many people. The one thing that stood out this organization was that families, specifically moms with kids, can get housing and coupling through The Salvation Army. This can be a huge help. There are so many other programs and services available, simply go to their local website and search for what you would benefit from.


The Ronald McDonald House

Again, the Ronald McDonald House is a well known organization, but there were a couple of things that I didn’t know until yesterday. Probably most important was that any 5 people can stay in a room for a patient. Even if you live down the street. They want to make it easy for families to stick together, and so they provide a common gathering place no matter how near or far they live. Secondly, they do ask for a donation of $20, but there is no obligation. But $20 is nothing compared to a hotel stay.

It’s so great to know these kind of resources are available when they are needed. Check out RMHFW.org for more.


Safe Haven

The primary focus for Safe Haven is on providing housing for abused women. However, as they talked about this, much more involved then just providing a safe place. It includes counseling, job training, education and more. The application to the students we were focused on this week is the preventative education they offer. By raising awareness for teens about abuse and dating violence, the likelihood of them ending up in an abusive relationship as they get older is drastically reduced. You can read more about the prevention program, including dating violence stats, on their Teens and Dating Violence page.


Alliance for Children

This organization is all about kids. They provide prevention education, abuse counseling, family advocacy and forensic interviews. All of these services work together to prevent abuse for children and to help those that have experienced abuse cope with the trauma of that event and the ongoing care necessary to maintain a healthy life. There isn’t a lot more to explaining their service because what they do is so involved, there are not a lot of extensions of what they offer.


Mesa Springs Hospital

Finally, Mesa Springs is primarily focused on offering substance abuse treatment. They do offer services that complement and enhance that core purpose, but their main mission is to give people their lives back. A couple of highlights I picked up on are that there are treatment programs that involve computer based tools. These make it much easier to access anytime you need it and to be more discrete about the recovery process. In addition, they also have counselors available online to start the process of getting connected to help. They also offer specific programing to involve the family in a healthy and helpful way. Anyone that has dealt with substance abuse recovery knows that the process is bumpy at best, and family can either be a hinderance or a huge support. Mesa Springs wants it to be the latter. Check out their website for more, MesaSprings.com

Do you think any of these resources could be helpful? Do you know of someone who has benefitted from these organizations? Don’t forget to include any resources you have found helpful below!

Ricky Lewis is our Executive Director and has been with us since the beginning. As a father of 4, he seeks to help parents and their kids Live Life Better.
The Power of “Me Too”

The Power of “Me Too”

Earlier this week, we held our 2nd annual Teen Lifeline Fundraising Dinner & Auction, and I am still blown away by the generosity and support that come from this night. One of my favorite parts of the night came when Beverly Ross spoke truth over the audience.

If you haven’t heard of Beverly Ross or Wise County Christian Counseling, I would encourage you to go check them out!

At this dinner, Beverly Ross challenged us by saying, “We need to teach our children that it’s not going to be okay. It’s going to be hard, but you’re never going to do it alone.”

Until she said this, I had never thought about the danger of saying, “It’s going to be okay!” When little kids are upset, we tell them it will be okay. When someone dies, we say that it will be okay eventually. In those teenage years, we talk about their future and that everything will be better – friends, parent relationships, school, drama, their purpose…the list could go on and on.

But can we guarantee that everything will be okay? That things will get better?

We cannot promise that their life will be perfect or happy or even “okay,” but we can promise the teenagers around us that when it gets hard, when life is less than okay, that they will have someone to walk with them. They are not alone. They don’t have to struggle by themselves.

This is the power of Teen Lifeline Support Groups! More than anything, they provide a safe place for teenagers to talk about things that are both okay and not okay. They give perspective and understanding for other people’s struggles. They make sure that every teen participating has at least one adult and a group of peers to do life with.

As Beverly said, there are few words more powerful than “me too!” In the midst of pain, heartache, struggles, questions and life in general, teenagers need to be surrounded by others who can say, “Me too!”

“Me too” implies understanding and acceptance.

Think back to your teenage years. Did you ever feel alone, different, lost? What would have happened if someone had looked you in the eye and said, “Me too.”

Let’s stop making empty promises to our children. Telling them that it’s going to be okay is not helpful for anyone when you can’t actually guarantee what their future is going to look like. What is helpful is giving them a chance to meet and be encouraged by others who understand what they are going through. No fixing is required. You don’t have to have all of the answers, but take the time to listen and respond with, “Me too.”

So, what do you think? How has the phrase, “Me too,” impacted your life? What can we say instead of, “It’s going to be okay?” Share your thoughts and stories with us!

Karlie Duke was in one of Teen Lifeline’s original support groups and now is our Communications Director. She is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories.
Dr. Mark DeYoung Talks Anxiety

Dr. Mark DeYoung Talks Anxiety

 Listen & Subscribe


How to help a teenager with anxiety

What is anxiety? And how can we help a teenager with anxiety? These questions are more are answered in an interview Dr. Mark DeYoung.

We are shedding light on a topic that can be easily misunderstood. Don’t overlook teen anxiety or panic. There are steps that you can take today!

In this episode, you’ll find out…

  • What is anxiety?
  • How anxiety is different from depression.
  • How anxiety specifically affects teenagers.
  • Some symptoms of anxiety to keep an eye on.
  • Coping skills that teens lack and how to help them succeed.

Ask yourself…

  • Am I really listening or just offering advice?
  • How can I help take some pressure off of teenagers?
  • Am I modeling positive boundaries and stress coping skills in my own life?
Teens need our ears more than they need our advice.
Dr. Mark DeYoung

Go ask a teen…

  • I’ve noticed that you’ve been acting different. What’s going on?
  • What boundaries can you put in place to take some stress off?
  • When you feel anxious, what is a positive thing that seems to help?


In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us

Dr. Mark DeYoung

Dr. Mark DeYoung

Special Guest

Chris Robey

Chris Robey


Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Have a question?

If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!

Let’s be friends.

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Episode 103 Anxiety & Gap Years
Episode 19: Back to School Anxiety and Simone Biles
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