Gregory and Essie Del Valle, Directors
Being raised in ministry as a pastor’s child, Gregory Del Valle knew the ins and outs of church life. The high demand to please the congregation and to set the example for other teens took its toll. Outward appearance and behavior soon became the skin deep qualities to master instead of a relationship with Christ and a life lived accountable to God. After 4 years in the military, Greg was hired by the Broward Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy. God touched Greg and he knew that he and his wife, Esmeralda, had a passion for youth. While serving in a church youth group of 350 with his retirement only 7 years away with the Sheriff’s Office, and with 3 teens still at home, God called Greg and Esmeralda to full-time ministry. They sacrificed their careers, home, childrens’ spiritual health and well being to follow and obey God’s calling. God has truly found favor in His eyes for the Del Valle family; God continues to show His faithfulness in their lives.
Kim Allen, Counselor
Kim has worked at the Lakeland Teen Challenge since August 2003. She counsels and shares the love of God to the young ladies in our program. She graduated from Southeastern University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. When younger, Kim went through a few turbulent teenage years after her parents divorced. She was angry, rebellious and miserable. With much hesitation, she started going to church with her mom and soon realized that she needed a savior. After surrendering her heart to God and accepting Jesus Christ as her personal savior, she quickly starting moving forward and found healing in her own personal life. She personally understands the turmoil that each girl is going through. In the past, Kim and her husband have worked as youth leaders and now Kim’s husband is one of the staff pastors at their church. Kim resides in Bartow, Florida and is married to an amazing man and has two handsome little boys.
Katy Prince, Residential Staff
Katy was born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida. After high school she completed 3 years of Master’s Commission, a nation-wide discipleship program. Katy has a Bachelors of Science in Theology and is currently working on a Masters of Science in Christian Counseling from Covenant Bible College and Seminary. Katy has a heart for at-risk youth and moved back to Florida from Colorado to pursue an opportunity to work with Teen Challenge in August of 2011.
Tiffany Gammon, Teacher
My love for children and for the English language has blossomed into a yearning to teach. I have worked at a preschool for several years and just recently got back from living in Honduras where I taught 7th grade core subjects as well as 10th grade Psychology. As teacher here at Teen Challenge, each day with God’s help I try to give beyond my very best in ensuring that material is fully understood. I am fully aware that each child is an individual and try to use as many techniques as it takes to further help my students with problem areas. Education is a life long journey, so feel free to choose Teen Challenge so we can ride along and learn together.
Dale Key, Counselor
Mrs. Dale Key is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Family Life Educator with a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies from Barry University. She later attended Nova University where I obtained a Master of Science in Psychology. After completing her Master, she spent several years working with adolescents and their families dealing with substance abuse and behavior problems, in a residential setting. Her philosophy is to provide an innovative alternative to provide an innovative alternative to traditional counseling, in a supportive learning and counseling environment, while fostering independence.
Tammy Cowey, Residential Staff
Tammy Cowey I have served in my home church in different ministries since I was 12 years old. I knew God was calling me into full-time ministry and that there was more for my life. At the age or 24, I left home to attend Brownsville Revival School of Ministry where I obtained an AA in Practical Ministry and an Ordination with FIRE (Fellowship for International Revival and Evangelism). In 2002, I left Pensacola to work for Teen Challenge here in Lakeland. I worked at this campus for 3 years, starting as a Direct Care staff and then moving up to Program Manager. During that time, I saw many young, hurting girls come in looking for someone to accept them. This is where they found the love of Jesus that transformed their lives. Each girl comes in the center broken, and each leaves whole. In 2005 I moved back to Miami to spend time with my family and pursue ministry in my home church, but I was called back to Winter Haven and the Teen Challenge family in May of 2008. At this moment, I am in such awe of the Lord and His love for me. Now I can’t wait to see what else the Lord has in store for me, the girls, and the staff here on our Lakeland campus!
Jennifer Baisden, Direct Care Staff
Jennifer grew up in the small town of Richlands, VA. She became a Christian at a young age, and during her teenage years she completely dedicated her life to serving Christ. During high school, she became interested in the idea of becoming a missionary to other countries, and while in college God put it in her heart to someday work with Global Teen Challenge. She graduated from Southeastern University in 2006 with a Bachelors Degree in Church Ministry – Missions. According to Ms. Baisden, “I decided to start learning about Teen Challenge while in college by volunteering at the Lakeland Girls Home. I loved it so much that after graduation I stayed in Florida to work at the center as Direct Care Staff. It is definitely God’s will that I am here. I couldn’t resist Him, because leading people to Christ is what I live for. So until God calls me elsewhere, or around the world, I’m here and loving it!”
Izella Walls, Teacher/Direct Care/Counselor
Ms. Walls is a woman of many hats. She is a native to South Florida who has dedicated her life for the work of the ministry. She is a mother who has raised two sons for the Kingdom of God. Ms. Walls has traveled internationally to South Africa, Israel, Canada, Bahamas and throughout the United States, sharing the good news of the kingdom. Her passion has opened doors where she uses her ministry and educational first as Co-pastor, Teacher, Psalmist, and Counselor. She has taught in public and private schools for over 10 years. Ms. Walls holds a Master’s Degree as a Mental Health Therapist.
Jamaris Del Valle, Fine Arts Coordinator
Being a finalist several times herself, Jamaris fully understands the great emphasis and the importance of cultivating each student’s own gifts and talents in order to reinforce our teaching, that each student is a unique individual. Through her coaching, they learn that they can only be second best at trying to become someone else and help students realize that they will always soar higher in their own uniqueness. This paradigm shift in our philosophy has allowed this team, under Jamaris’ guidance, to reach the National Level of competition in “Fine Arts” for the last six years against an average of 17,000 of the Top Nation’s Best Finalist. Jamaris is also a graduate of Paramount Beauty School where she instructs girls in the proper meaning of beauty from within.
Hillary Oxman, Residential Staff
In 2005 Hillary came to LGA from Coral Springs, Florida. After graduating Hillary returned home to complete high school and to one day accomplish her dream of coming back as a Female Youth Pastor. Six years later Hillary joined the ranks of LGA as residential staff and is working on her B.A. Degree.
Romeo Del Valle, Administrative Assistant
“Mr. Romeo” enjoys finding new ways to help students develop their mental, physical, and spiritual health individually. Currently Romeo teaches in the classroom and assists with some of the administration needs of the center as needed. Romeo graduated from Southeastern University with a Bachelor of Science degree with focuses on theology, discipleship, and counseling.