Trees of Hope: Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge Program Graduates Giving Back

Trees of Hope: Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge Program Graduates Giving Back

Ryan Juntti
Updated: December 23, 2019 07:14 PM

Each year, hundreds of men and women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction walk through the doors at Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge.  


Two people who graduated from the program are now working at Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge.  

"After a 14 year addiction to meth, I was basically at my wit's end," said Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge Community Outreach Manager Amber Jochem.

Jochem had been in and out of jails, and was looking at even more prison time after she got arrested again. 

"In 2009, I had gotten arrested for the 20th time," Jochem said.

She heard about Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge while incarcerated, and knew if she got there she could turn her life around.

"I was on my way to prison, and I went in front of the judge that day and I just said, 'Your Honor, I have an application into the program. I just need to get there' and he goes 'if you actually have an application, we will get you into the program, so here I am today,' " Jochem said.

Her now coworker Kristin Hanson had a similar experience.

"Drugs and alcohol, mainly the drugs brought me down to the whole of in and out of jails, and the whole system. And finally, I was at my rock bottom," said Hanson, who is the Admissions Coordinator at Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge.

Which is when Hanson entered the program herself.

"It helped me to form a relationship with the lord, which in turn helped me to change my life around so now I can help other people," Hanson said.

And now that's what both Jochem and Hanson are doing - as staff members.

"It's very fulfilling, especially when I see somebody that's been clean and sober for two years, and I was the person that drove them into the program," Jochem said.

"It's super rewarding. I am able to relate to them as they sit in a chair across from me, and know how they're feeling because that was just a short three years ago that I was in that same position," Hanson said.

Center Director Brandon Torgerson says having staff members who can relate to what the men are dealing with is invaluable.

"It's one of my favorite things about what we do. Seeing a former client graduate through the program want to come back and work for us," said Torgerson.  


Ryan Juntti

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