November 18, 2013

Artist Mitchell Tolle to speak at benefit banquet

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge of Kentucky, located in Manchester, is a place where young men who are trying to put their lives back together after facing addictions can get help.

But, Chad’s Hope is terribly under funded, and many who need treatment can’t afford it.

“Chad’s Hope is a UNITE-approved organization,” said Michael Leonard, director of Chad’s Hope.  “Our students can get UNITE vouchers to pay for the cost of the program, but first they have to meet certain requirements.  First and foremost, funds have to be available; they have to be from the Fifth Congressional District; and they must have the financial need.  We used to get several UNITE vouchers, but now it seems like they’ve only got the money for maybe one or two per year.”

It costs $1,500 a month to attend Chad’s Hope.  The money goes towards food, utility costs and lodging, but according to Leonard, 99 percent of the students at Chad’s Hope have to subsidize that cost.

In an effort to ease the financial burden of treatment and to make treatment more affordable, Chad’s Hope will host a donor’s banquet on November 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the London Community Center.

The theme for the banquet will be “Beauty from Brokenness” and will feature a video made by graduates of the program and special guest speaker Mitchell Tolle.

Tolle, a well-known artist and owner of The Mitchell Tolle Gallery, is expected to speak about how life and art go hand-in-hand.

“Who better than Mr. Tolle to show people that out of nothing, something beautiful can come forward,” Leonard said.

“We believe that there is hope for every person trapped in drug addiction,” he continued.  “Our goal is to see life transformations.  We’re not going to just treat the problem, we want them to deal with why they have these addictions and why they’ve done the things they’ve done.”

Leonard’s goal is only a small part of what Chad’s Hope does for men with addictions and other issues during the one-year program.

“This program is for men, 18 and older, who have made up their minds they want to overcome addiction,” Leonard said.  “It’s completely faith based and is composed of four phases.”

According to Leonard, the initial phase includes the traditional 12-step addiction program but as the program moves on, it touches on relationship issues, personal accountability and responsibility.

Along with treatment, students at Chad’s Hope are given an opportunity to do build work ethic and a decent resume.

Leonard said the students work a few hours each day doing community service or providing needed services to local businesses and corporations.  Sometimes they clean Commonwealth Stadium after a Wildcats football game and other times they help local colleges with special or big events.

They do whatever they can to help the community and better themselves.

“It’s a really great program,” said Leonard.  “I believe it’s really making a difference.  That’s why we want to work with local businesses to do things like data entry, packing and shipping, the kind of work they would outsource.  It helps these men, some of who have never held a job for longer than a couple weeks, build work ethic and really turn their lives around.”

Tickets to the banquet cost $35 and are still available.  For more information on Chad’s Hope or to purchase tickets to the banquet, visit or call (606) 599-9716 and ask for Lisa.