Parents News

Alumna Appointed Teen Challenge Chief Operations Officer

by Sarah Cushing - University Communications | Oct 07, 2016
Amber Didden '10
Amber (Mortensen) Didden ’10 graduated from the University of Valley Forge (UVF) with a degree in Christian Ministries without fully knowing how she wanted to use it. While she did not have a plan, God knew that she would be able to use all of the subjects she studied — psychology, education, digital media and Bible — in her future career. Didden recently accepted the position of chief operations officer at the Teen Challenge Training Center in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania. “Everything that I studied in Christian ministries really helped build that exact foundation,” she said. “It’s just a testament to God — even though I did not know what I was doing, God knew exactly what I was doing and it ended up being perfect.”

As chief operations officer, Didden has a bird’s eye view on Teen Challenge as a whole. She explained Teen Challenge as a machine comprised of different gears, which are the departments. Her job is to check that all of the departments work well together and the organization runs as a well-oiled machine. Her daily responsibilities are marked by a lengthy to-do list, overseeing that each department completes their own to-do lists and reporting the results to the organization’s CEO. 

Didden could not have foreseen how involved she would become with Teen Challenge. After graduation, Didden and her husband, Josh ’11, a graduate of Teen Challenge, moved to Florida. For a few months, Didden worked at Lakeland Grace Academy, a Christian boarding school operated by Teen Challenge that is designed to counsel girls struggling with life-controlling issues. She monitored the students, coming head-to-head with recovering teenagers. “You have to rely on the Lord to give you wisdom,” Didden said.

In 2014, the Diddens returned to Pennsylvania and worked at the Teen Challenge Training Center. Josh worked as an addiction counselor and Amber worked in the accounts payable office as an accounting clerk. While there, their family went through a rough season and Teen Challenge gathered around them with love and support. “It was like everything you read about in the New Testament just coming to life,” Didden said. “Everyone just loved on us and took care of us in very tangible ways.”

Didden’s love for Teen Challenge grew and she thought of ways the organization could reach and support the families of those in the program just as it had done for her family. She planned public relations events and thought of opportunities that could benefit the organization. Her enthusiasm and vision made her a perfect fit for Teen Challenge’s newly established Student and Family Enrichment program. The new program offers training for the families of students on how to best support their student during and after Teen Challenge. They also host a monthly family day and offer a clear gospel presentation so that families learn of the hope they can find in God. Didden became the student and family enrichment coordinator, and less than a year later became the director of the program. Her success in her previous positions at Teen Challenge served as a stepping stone to her current position. “It was really exciting for me to see what I wanted to do in the future and actually implement those things,” she said.

This year, the Diddens are celebrating a season of joy and fruitfulness. She will begin studying for a Master of Arts in Business Administration and continue her role as chief operations officer at Teen Challenge.