Sandhills Adult & Teen Challenge Takes Opportunity to Obtain Property Formerly Used by Closed Adult & Teen Challenge Center

Executive Director Russ Cambria initiates plans to expand the organization’s horizons 

“If you weren’t retiring and this opportunity presented itself, would you move forward with it?” Russ Cambria, the new Executive Director/CEO of Sandhills Adult & Teen Challenge asked his mentor Sal DiBianca, the founder of the organization he is now leading.

The opportunity? Obtaining a new residential property in the Greater Fayetteville area, specifically, Elizabethtown in Bladen County

To Cambria’s question, Sal simply replied, “Yes. I would move forward with it.

Cambria then decided to bring the idea and details to his Board of Directors, who approved the decision. 

The property obtained by Sandhills ATC sits on 30 acres of flat, sandy and buildable land. It already contains a beautiful ranch-style home that can house up to 10 new students. 

Previously, this property served as an Adult & Teen Challenge center for another corporation that has since disbanded. A few months ago, leaders from the former corporation met with Cambria and presented the idea that the property could come under new ownership with a new, exciting vision.

Cambria, knowing the experience Sandhills ATC brings to the table, along with its faithfully dedicated supporters and friends throughout the region, had a notion the Lord was up to something.

“It’s very exciting to add this space under the corporate umbrella of Sandhills ATC,” Cambria says, “and we are in prayer at this time as to how we can best serve the greater Fayetteville community through its use.” 

With three residential properties spanning from the Greater Charlotte area to Elizabethtown (Fayetteville), the leadership team has some exciting decisions to make, moving forward. 

Program Director Steve Coleman recently visited the new property.

“We can build an entire village here,” he commented after surveying the land. “What a blessing and opportunity we have right in front of us to help so many people!” 

What’s next?

“We know that we (Sandhills ATC) have a massive need for beds dedicated to adult females,” Cambria says. “We want to meet that need and plan to do so. We just need to seek the Lord’s direction as to which location would best serve that population, especially considering a female program often leads to graduates who tend to relocate and set up their new lives in a different community than they came from.”

The leaders at Sandhills ATC are aware that women starting over need access to community resources, job opportunities, transportation and churches, among other things. With the addition of this third property, they now have options within the state that can accommodate all of the above.

While there may be concerns about the reputation left by the previous group, Cambria says the former organizational leaders are long gone and he is impressed with the few remaining board members of the closing organization. 

“They are committed to setting things right so we can move forward,” he says, “and that showed me that this is an opportunity Sandhills ATC should pay attention to.”

The hope of Sandhills ATC is that the high level of integrity and student care it offers could be an answer for the surrounding community’s prayers for a healthy ATC center.

“We will need those who believed in the mission of the organization and faithfully supported it over the years to give us a chance and help us rebuild something special and life changing,” Cambria says. 

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