Dear Editor:I find the article attacking Teen Challenge and other faith-based programs BOGUS. Instead of attacking these community programs we should be applauding them. There are not many programs available to the community here, that reach out to help the community, and at no charge.I have visited Teen Challenge numerous times. I have a teen that needed guidance and they were there for me. Our family needed family counseling and they were here for us. Their services are not limited to certain individuals and they did not require us to participate in any religious activity. I found them in the phone book when I did not know where else to turn. I believe they are only partly funded from federal, so if the chair purchased by the federal funding is used as a seat for someone in counseling and then for someone in bible study and then again for someone in a program, who cares? And I believe most of the staff there are volunteers and if there are some that are work part-time this is what I found:“It is fine for a faith-based organization to employ someone on their staff to perform religious duties while also having that person administer part of a Federally-funded program. There are, however, rules that must be followed. The part-time worker must not engage in inherently religious activities while working on the Federally-funded portion of his or her job. And that part-time worker must also document that he met his time commitment to the government-sponsored program by keeping careful time records of his activities. This will make sure that government funds are spent only on non-religious activities.”“One of my most important initiatives is the Faith-Based and Community Initiative, because I recognize that government can hand out money, but what it cannot do is put hope in people’s hearts or a sense of purpose in people’s lives. What I want to do is unleash the great compassion of America, by changing American one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time.” President George W. Bush Kudos to Teen Challenge for all you do.Mona Uli-Lopez(Editor’s Note: The article referenced (Friday, March 22) was not written to attack Teen Challenge or any other faith-based group. It was a report of the U.S. Dept. of Justice findings on compliance with federal law, and the duties and responsibilities of CJPA (Criminal Justice Planning Agency), for which Teen Challenge is a sub-grantee. Recommendations were made by the USDOJ Office for Civil Rights to CJPA to ensure that federal funds were not being used for inherently religious activities.- th)

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