In the midst of all the disgusting racism and hatred and violence in Virginia (and the world) over the weekend, Robby and I decided that my little blog here needed a bit more diversity.  

I’ve been told my blog is too white and I agree.  But it’s all good now thanks to Robby!  He volunteered to be a token brown guy!

Hello to my new friend Robby!  

Before you get all bent out of shape or shocked about my flippant and disrespectful terminology, it was Robby’s idea.  He has a great sense of humour.

Let’s get real now.

Many years ago, as a young man, Robby was on a path to destruction. He was involved in organized crime and arrested over a dozen times for various drug related and assault charges.  He showed me his numerous mug shots.

Robby was stabbed and shot and eventually arrested for attempted murder.  He knew, he knew, this kind of life wouldn’t end well.  His path was quickly leading towards death and despair.

What do you think happened?  

This story is straight out of a made-for-tv-hallmark special.  Except it’s real and it’s amazing.

Robby found Teen Challenge.  

It seems so simple and almost clich├ęd but it’s not.  As I said, it’s real.  Robby graduated the Teen Challenge Program about 11 years ago and began working as a Teen Challenge Employee.  

Eight years ago, Robby met his stunning wife Jennifer at a local church.  They fell in love, got married, and had three adorable children together.  Robby is so in love with his family that he couldn’t help but show me a picture on his phone.  Robby, Jennifer, Robby’s daughter from a previous relationship, and their three little ones.  This is seriously a beautiful family. 

Robby is now working as the director for the NWO chapter of Teen Challenge.  His wife works for the organization as well.  This is something they both believe in so strongly and therefore dedicate so much of their time.

I think most people are familiar with Teen Challenge, but let me get into a bit of the details.

From the Facebook page:


The ultimate goal for people in the Teen Challenge program is to graduate and become a healthy and successful member of society.  Successful does not mean being a doctor or a lawyer.  It means you’ve addressed the root causes and issues of addiction and learned a structured and strong worth ethic.

Teen Challenge (which is not just for teens) is a Christian program devoted to helping.  You don’t have to be a Christian to be welcomed or helped (Robby grew up Hindu) but it is stressed that the organization follows the teachings of Jesus.

And people do get helped!  Robby’s life is a testimony to the positive impact that Teen Challenge can have.

And the latest development with the local Teen Challenge chapter is the new Super Thrift store!

A couple weeks ago, a huge and spectacularly clean thrift store opened on Johnson Avenue.  

I’ve been there.  I went there three days in a row one week.  Guys, it’s like the motherland to a well seasoned thrifter like myself.

If you shop with Teen Challenge, every dollar you spend is a help.  This is not a government funded program.  Everything is made possible by donations and by people who shop at the thrift store! Aside from paying salaries and basic administration tasks, everything goes directly to the year-long program that helps the people who are enrolled.

In the very near future there are hopes of getting a home for women in the city up and running.  Recently the local Teen Challenge has partnered with New Life Ministries and committed to rebuilding the New Life women’s home that was lost to fire earlier in the year.

If you have anything you’d like to donate, feel free to call!

Thank you so much to Robby for talking to me.  I loved hearing about the great work you and your wife are doing, and loved hearing about your story of transformation.

It’s been said that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of humanity, a perfect sacrifice to wipe the slate clean.  Robby believes this with all his heart.  Anybody can have a fresh start and Robby has experienced it.

Circling back to my opening paragraph, this world is a mess, it’s true.  But it’s also beautiful.  There is so much beauty; amidst the horrors I try find small bits of magic.  Who knew that saying hello to Robby would end up being magical.  

So again, from one pint sized white girl to a big brown dude, many thanks and adulations.  For you, your life story, and the work you do.

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