Everyone should have the opportunity to meet Jesus. In Tucson, Arizona, Springboard Home helps make that introduction for teenage girls in crisis.
Founded by Snow Peabody in 1976, Springboard Home is a branch of Teen Challenge Arizona, which is part of U.S. Missions. At the center, girls receive healing from the effects of addiction and other controlling issues. For Madi Nagelhout, that hour came in late 2019.
Madi had smoked marijuana, which quickly led to taking pills and other drugs, as well as regularly abusing alcohol.
In August 2019, Madi overdosed at school, then spent five days in a mental health facility with no change in her attitude or behavior. After she returned to using illicit drugs and alcohol, her mother, Joanna, intervened and contacted Springboard Home. Joanna decided that even if Madi never talked to her again, the intervention would be worth it to have her daughter healthy. Madi enrolled at Springboard Home just after Christmas in 2019 and hated every second of the first few weeks of her stay.
Everything changed after attending a youth worship service at the nearby The Gate Church in Marana. The speaker challenged students to consider all that God had done for them and then ask Him for just one thing. Madi prayed that she would have a true change in perspective on her time at Springboard Home, and God answered her prayer. From that point forward, Madi accepted the reality that she needed to be at Springboard Home in order to turn her life around. She started taking her relationship with God more seriously.
Before that, Madi had repeatedly asked herself, If God is so real, then why am I struggling with addiction?
“After He answered my prayer, I realized that it’s not Him,” Madi says. “It’s me. I chose this. But I don’t have to go through it alone.”
Madi’s moved into a leadership role, helping other girls at Springboard Home find freedom and wholeness.
Girls live at Springboard Home for an average of 4½ months to learn and grow under the guidance of trained staff who provide around-the-clock care. Through Bible study, counseling, and service, girls ages 12 to 17 discover greater purpose and receive healing from addiction and past trauma.
“No one has to struggle to receive God’s love or feel like they need to be perfect before they reach out to Him,” says Georgia J. Morrison, Springboard Home director. “The girls see that the staff isn’t perfect. It’s not about being perfect.”
Before becoming director in 2018, Morrison served as a houseparent at Springboard, teaching girls how to cook, take care of themselves, and other life lessons to prepare them to take responsibility. Morrison, a licensed Assemblies of God minister, earned her bachelor’s degree as well as her master’s degree in international community development from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. The skills from that program are still helping her in her role as director today.
Springboard Home accepts girls regardless of their family’s ability to pay the full residential or program costs.
“We believe God will supply all the finances we need and ask Him to send us the right families at the right time,” says Morrison, 25.
Through partnerships with local ministries and local churches, such as Discovery Church in Tucson and The Gate Church in Marana, residents at Springboard Home have a chance to serve the community and gain a broader perspective.
“They realize there is more to life than just themselves,” adds Morrison.
In addition to fostering an authentic relationship with Jesus, Springboard Home also provides training and workshops for parents to help ensure that girls who graduate return home to a positive environment. Communication, conflict management, and group counseling sessions help youth reconnect with their family and build healthier bonds. Through Springboard Home, communication between Madi and Joanna has improved and their relationship has never been stronger.
Madi, now 17, graduated high school early, earned a golf scholarship to attend a local community college, and is studying to become an ultrasound technician. She remains sober.