Our Teen Challenge Milwaukee addiction program for women and rehab treatment center is lead by a wonderful and caring staff. – [exceed_links_inner] and [exceed_links_inner].

Staff Directory

Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge – Women’s Rehab Center Team

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Rev. Craig Harper, Executive Director

Craig has been working with Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge since 1992. Craig obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Chemistry Education from Louisiana State University in 1987. He has done graduate work at Cardinal Stritch University and Marquette Graduate School of Business. In 2007, Craig was awarded a scholarship to attend classes in the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School. He was chosen for this opportunity by members of the Harvard Business School Club of Wisconsin and attended additional classes in 2009 and 2014, both at the business school and at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Craig served on the National Teen Challenge Board of Directors and as a National Teen Challenge Regional Representative from 1996 to 2002. He is an ordained Assembly of God Minister and Nationally Appointed Home Missionary. He is past President, Vice President, and Treasurer of the Northwest Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the U.S. Swimming Foundation, U.S. Golf Association, the Northshore Republicans, the Harvard Business School Club of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Rotary, and Milwaukee Rotary’s Partners in Education Committee. In 2012, Craig was appointed to the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse by Governor Scott Walker as his appointed Designee.

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Rev. Jennifer Harper, Women’s Program Director

Jennifer was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Oral Roberts University, as well as Rhema Bible College in Oklahoma. In 1997, Jennifer received a Diploma in Bible and Ministerial Training from Rhema Bible College while working at the headquarters of Domata School of European Missions located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. In 1999, Jennifer moved to Ladispoli, Italy to work as an administrator and teacher at the Domata Bible School-Italy. Jennifer then moved to Juiz de Fora, Brazil to help start Domata Bible School-Brazil. Jennifer worked as a youth minister at Harvest Family Church in Toronto, Canada and then at East Coast Believer’s Church in Orlando, through which she is ordained. In 2007, Jennifer moved to Hartland, Wisconsin to work as a youth minister and administrative assistant at Lake Country Family Church, while also working part-time at Teen Challenge Wisconsin in development, accounting, and general administration. After seven years as a part-time employee, Jennifer accepted the full-time position of Women’s Program Director for Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge’s Robby Dawson Home for Women. Jennifer’s hard work, ministry experience, and dedication to the Lord have been a great benefit to Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge Women’s program.

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Mr. Mark Rainey, Dean of Men

Mark grew up here in Milwaukee and graduated from Washington High School as an all-city running back. In 1981, he was recruited as a full scholarship Division 2 NCAA athlete by Minnesota State University located in Mankato, Minnesota. A crack cocaine addiction stopped Mark’s dreams and desires. By God’s grace, Mark entered Teen Challenge Wisconsin in 2004. After completing the induction phase in Milwaukee, he entered phase two at “God’s Mountain” in Rehersberg, Pennsylvania in 2005. Mark Rainey currently works at Great Laeks Adult & Teen Challenge as the Dean of Men. He does an outstanding job and is one of the best, serving faithfully at our center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Sonia McDonald, Education Coordinator

Sonia McDonald was born and raised in Waltham, Massachusetts. She graduated with a Degree in Communications from Curry College located in Milton, Massachusetts in 2002. She loves coffee, chocolate, and apple pie. But more than anything she loves the Lord and building his kingdom. Young people are her passion, and helping people live a life in pursuit of Jesus is her mission drive. Sonia recently joined Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge and is excited to be part of the Education Department where she helps students with their classroom studies while in the program.

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Abigail Marsiglio, Special Events Coordinator

Abigail was born in New York where she lived until she was 9. In 2001, she and her family moved to Guatemala City, Guatemala to be missionaries through the Assemblies of God. She lived in Guatemala up until she graduated high school in 2010. She then moved to Florida to attend Southeastern University where she obtained a B.S. in Theology in December of 2014. Abigail worked two years at the General Council of the Assemblies of God Missions Department.

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Mike Burkenpas, Work Therapy / SuperThrift Manager

Mike grew up near Boston in Framingham, Massachusetts. After completing high school Mike moved to Michigan to join his uncle in the car business. For over twenty years he worked as a Sales Person for Chevrolet, GMC, and Buick. During this time Mike became a severe alcoholic and addict. Mike’s addiction ended up leading him to become homeless in the state of Florida. In 2010, Mike walked to the Adult and Teen Challenge Center located in Pensacola, Florida. Here he was taken in and given the opportunity to start a new life. In approximately one year Mike completed the program and started working in their Thrift Stores. After graduation, Mike completed the Level One of the Emerging Leaders Program. After five years of experience working in the store, Mike came to Milwaukee to become the Manager of our SuperThrift Store. Each day, Mike and the SuperThrift staff help students who spend most of the afternoon in work therapy. During this time, students gain new skills and the dignity that comes from work in their healing process.

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Ms. Melanie Leitinger, Work Therapy / Superthrift Merchandising Manager

Melanie entered Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge twenty years ago. Struggling with an addiction to a large variety of prescription drugs, Mel was seeking a life of freedom and health. Mel grew up here in the Milwaukee area graduating from Lake Country’s Arrowhead High School in 1984. Melanie completed Induction Phase in Milwaukee and Training Phase in Memphis, Tennessee. After completion, Mel served at the Adult and Teen Challenge Center in Rudolph, Wisconsin. After five years Mel completed an Associates Degree at the Adult and Teen Challenge Ministry Institute located in Jacksonville, Florida. Twelve years ago Mel came back to work for us at Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge. Mel has a heart for helping our ladies become responsible workers and individuals. With many years of experience, she has a strong ability and passion to help each and every lady

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Mrs.Denise O’Brien, Accounting Coordinator

Denise grew up in Milwaukee and has always been involved in accounting, mortgage work, and taxes in a variety of capacities. Denise began volunteering at Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge Wisconsin in 1991 and now serves as our Accounting Coordinator. Denise spends each day helping our agency with everything regarding finances. Her priorities are God, her children, and her dogs. Denise enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.

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Kourtney Thyrion, Women’s Direct Care Staff

Kourtney Thyrion was born and raised by her father in Chicago, Illinois. In eighth grade, Kourtney started drinking and smoking marijuana. After completing high school in 2006, Kourtney had her son whom she greatly loves and enjoys spending time with. In 2014 Kourtney graduated from Everest College in Merrionette, Illinois as a Certified Medical Assistant. At the age of 25, Kourtney was introduced to heroin by a family member. IV Heroin use took complete control of her life. In 2016 two of her grammar school friends did an intervention for Kourtney and helped her enter Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge. Today, Kourtney works full time helping our female students with the day to day activities of the program. As a Personal Studies certified teacher, she spends time every week working with each student helping them with their studies. She has a passion for the restoration of our ladies as they seek healing and a healthy life.

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Brandon Thyrion, Intake Coordinator

Brandon grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin with two brothers and three sisters. An avid Packer fan Brandon loved football and outdoor sports including hunting and fishing. At 14 years of age, Brandon started experimenting with alcohol and marijuana. Brandon completed Pulaski High School in 2012 lettering in both football and wrestling. In 2011, Brandon lost his father to suicide. During this time pain killers and IV heroin use quickly took over his life. On December 17th, 2015, Brandon’s home was raided by local police and he was arrested for the manufacture and delivery of heroin. Facing a felony conviction, Brandon sat in jail for 8 months where he began to read scripture. When he stood before the Judge, a 5-minute recess was granted for him to call the helpline at Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge. Within minutes he was on his way to enter our one year program. Brandon has completed his one-year requirements to obtain ministerial certification at the District School of Ministry located in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Brandon has a passion to help others find freedom from addiction and to discover the purposes of God for their lives. He has helped over 400 men and women enter Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge.

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