By Neal Broadus, Title 1 Parent Involvement Coordinator

MANCHESTER (11-23-09) — Chad’s Hope is a faith-based substance abuse treatment center located across the Clay County line, just off of Highway 421, going toward Manchester. It was built, in large part, due to a donation of 80 acres of land, and to the collaboration of local government and religious leaders. The donors of the land were Charlie McWhorter and his wife, who has since passed on. The land was donated in memory of their son, Chad McWhorter, who sadly died of a drug overdose. The program was subsequently named in his memory. It is called Chad’s Hope Center.

In September of 2008, the program became a part of Teen Challenge, which is a 12 month, faith based, rehabilitation program that was founded by Rev. David Wilkerson. Rev. Wilkerson is best known for writing the book “The Cross and the Switchblade”, which is about gangs, drugs, and a preacher that stood up against them. The book was also later made into a movie starring, Pat Boone, who played the lead character, Rev. Wilkerson.

As part of their program’s treatment the men are encouraged to share their stories/testimonies with others. In order to do just that, Danny Simmons, a staff member from “Chad’s Hope”, brought two of the men with him on a trip to Sand Gap Elementary School. They were invited there to speak to the 4th and 5th grades as part of Sand Gap’s anti-drug “Red Ribbon Week” activities.

The first to speak was Carl Varney. He is almost three months into his year long rehabilitation. He spoke to the students about the importance of making good decisions, and how what may seem like a little thing can quickly grow out of control. All decisions are important, no matter how insignificant they may seem. One very important decision has to do with what kind of crowd you hang with. A bad crowd can have a very bad effect on you.

Isaac Dunteman, who has finished 9 months of his rehab, spoke to the students about who can get hooked on drugs. Isaac wasn’t your typical student. He was home schooled. Even though he lived what many would consider to be a sheltered life, he started to make bad decisions. These bad decisions led to more bad decisions, and bad decisions lead to bad consequences. Jail time, loss of friends and family, and addiction are just a few of the bad consequences caused by bad decisions dealing with drugs.

The musical duo of Dunteman/Varney now uses music as a positive way to face their problems. They sang several songs for the students. Most of which they had written together during their time in rehab. The two men are wonderful singers and musicians. Their lyrics are very touching and heartfelt. The students thoroughly enjoyed listening to them sing their songs of lives lived and lessons learned.

The question and answer session truly showed that the students were listening. They asked very intelligent, thoughtful, questions. Some where easily answered, and others required a bit of reflection, which goes to show that our students are concerned about substance abuse problems that face our community. To find out more about “Chad’s Hope” you can visit their website at:

Also, in honor of “Red Ribbon Week” the Sand Gap Family Resource Center (Brooke Bellamy, Director), the Jackson County High School Youth Services Center (Connie Hays, Director and Julia Sparks, Assistant Director) and the Title 1 Program (Loretta Gilbert, Federal Programs/Title 1 Director; Alice Singleton, Parent Liaison; and Neal Broadus, Parent Involvement Coordinator) sponsored an anti-drug door decorating contest. The winners at Sand Gap were as follows: 1st place Mrs. Gabbard’s class and 2nd place Mrs. Ward’s class. The winner at Jackson County High School was Mrs. Ashley Gabbard’s 2nd block class.

If you need more information about Title 1 Parent Involvement Programs, then please feel free to call Neal Broadus, Parent Involvement Coordinator, at 287-7181, or e-mail at