New Life II…Your Community on the Road to Recovery
New Life II is the first Black RCO Recovery Community Organization in the state of Connecticut
New Life II was birthed out of its parent ministry, New Life I, a recovery home in New Britain, CT. NLII’s directors, Pastors Dana and Evelyn Smith, each spent nearly two years there getting clean, sober, healthy, and healed, more than 20 years ago. After years of sobriety and learning how to live our their recovery to the fullest, they opened New Life II in 2016 to help others overcome addiction and receive the freedom they had walked in themselves.
Our ministry was created to serve individuals who were told that addiction and mental health issues are all that their life has to offer them. Because we know that God can change anyone and everyone just like He changed us, we are here to introduce individuals to a different pathway to recovery. New Life II is one of those paths.
photo credit: Air Land Sea Media
The vision for New Life II has always been to be more than just a recovery home. Pastors Dana and Evelyn envisioned their ministry to be about community–about learning to heal together; to support and encourage one another, and to teach one another how to build, maintain, and restore relationships in a healthy way.
They also wanted their ministry to include education and training, to equip participants with the tools and skills they need in order to re-enter society successfully, and to educate the community and reduce the stigma associated with addiction and mental health.
Above all, Pastors Dana and Evelyn see their recovery community as a different kind of church. There is no format or formality at New Life II. No judgement, no pressure to conform to a particular standard. It’s a place to come as you are and meet Jesus where you are. All are welcome no matter what faith, belief, religion, or denomination. If you have any questions, please email, text, call us!
At New Life II, our faith is infused in our perspective, our outlook, and everything that we do. Most importantly, it guides how we treat and view other people:
- We live by the Great Commission (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”) Matthew 28:19-20
- We live by “The Greatest Commandment” (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”) Matthew 22:36-40
New Life II leadership is comprised of people who just want to serve for their own personal reasons, and it makes our leadership one of the most loving, caring, compassionate mixes of people any organization could hope to have.
Pastor Dana Smith
Pastor and Executive Director of New Life II recovery house – a home for men who struggle with mental health, addiction and trauma. For the past 15 years Dana has worked in the community; helping to organizing basketball tournaments, family events and has founded a men’s group called unshakable Men. Dana also assists with feeding the homeless, and is part of the Greater New Britain Re-entry round table. Dana is trained as an Integrated Healing Coach, National certified peer specialist, recovery coach, recovery support specialist, and suicide prevention gatekeeper instructor.
Pastor Evelyn Smith
Co-Executive Director at New Life ll. Evelyn has dedicated the last 4 years to New Life ll – a men’s Christian recovery home. Evelyn has been a Pastor for 15 years and specializes in working with individuals in Recovery. Mrs. Smith is trained as an Integrated Healing Coach. She assists participants that struggle with addiction, mental health and trauma. New Life ll is in collaboration with CMHA, ABH, DCF and Klingberg Family Center. These partnerships have allowed Evelyn to further her training, and contribute to greater assisting New Life II participants on many different levels.
Christopher Montes has dedicated his professional life to the service of children and families for the last 34 years in both community and clinical settings. His career employment has been at Klingberg Family Centers and as Director of Youth & Family Services/Community Services in New Britain, as well as a private practice in Avon. He has also taught Child Development and Lifespan Developmental Psychology at Central Connecticut State University each semester for the past 21 years. In addition to teaching, he is currently working at Farmington Community Services Department and at the CCSU Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy – Children of Incarcerated Parents initiative after recently retiring from the City of New Britain.
He holds a master’s degree in Community Psychology and is a Board Certified Clinical Psychotherapist as well as a Nationally Certified Psychologist. He has also been certified in Family Therapy and Parent Training by the Savannah Family Institute and holds a Family Development Credential from the University of Connecticut.
He has presented at workshops regarding adolescents in transition to independent living in Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Atlanta and several other cities. He has also spoken at several workshops and settings regarding parenting, delinquency, bullying and other related topics. This is his third time speaking to grandparents raising grandchildren in Plainville.
He has been married for nearly 33 years to his lovely wife Paula, and has two children, Elise aged 20 and Samuel aged 23. He, his family and two springer spaniel therapy dogs, Tucker and Lucy, make their home in the Unionville section of Farmington, CT.
Christina M. Cicero holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Study along with a State of Connecticut teaching license from the University of Saint Joseph. She also holds a Masters Level Degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Victimology from the University of New Haven. For over 10 years, Ms. Cicero has been supporting youth and their families through crises and mental health challenges to function more productively within their home environments and within the community at large. Ms. Cicero is currently the Program Director for a transitional independent living facility for adolescent females called Lisa’s Wish located in Plainville, Ct. In her role as Director, Ms. Cicero ensures that the philosophy of a strength based and relational approach, alongside gender responsiveness, are embodied throughout her program. She leads her staff in creating a trauma-informed program by retaining a therapeutic milieu, while also ensuring residents have access to supportive services and clinical care. In addition to the work performed at LISA, Inc., Ms. Cicero is actively involved in developing and facilitating various trainings surrounding trauma and domestic human sex trafficking with the Department of Children and Families and various school systems. She also works under Dr. Stephanie Covington as a VOICES facilitator and trainer. Ms. Cicero also runs various groups and
trainings throughout Connecticut as well as different parts of the country.
William H. Church, Ph.D.
Bill Church is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Neuroscience at Trinity College in Hartford CT. He has been involved in higher education for over 30 years. During his time at Trinity, he has held numerous leadership positions, including tenures as Chair of both the Chemistry Department and the Neuroscience Program and Chair of the Health Professions Advising Committee. He has served on numerous college governance committees and search committees. He has been active in his community as an active member of the Episcopal Church, a referee for youth and adult soccer, and numerous volunteer organizations, such as JDRF, The Travelers Championship, and youth services programs.
While interning for Rushford at Stone Haven, earning hours towards her Associate of Science in Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Char’Dornne Bussue joined Advocacy Unlimited Inc.’s Bridger Program. Stepping away from the medical model of recovery Miss Bussue was introduced to a new way of engaging and connecting with others through the practice of Intentional Peer Support and compassionate communication. Upon graduation from Manchester Community College in May 2018, it became clear to Char’Dornne that her purpose was not to
pursue a career in the clinical field, instead she became a Certified Recovery Support Specialist. Drawing from personal experiences of recovery, Miss Bussue provides support, advocacy and education to peers in recovery; assisting as they begin to rebuild their lives and embark on a journey to true healing. Since February 2018, Char’Dornne has served as Co-Chair of the Greater New Britain Reentry Council, a regional extension of the CT Reentry Collaborative. The Greater New Britain Reentry Council represents state and local organizations working together to identify needs, provide support, and address gaps in service for returning citizens and families affected by incarceration.
Minister Maggie Taylor
Maggie is a Recovery Support Specialist, and trained as an Integrated Healing Coach, who has a Bachelor Degree in Human Services with a minor in Psychology. She has been volunteering at New Life II since 2016. Maggie feels that it was an act of faith that brought her to the peer movement. “I could not imagine working with people in any other capacity outside of the peer role; my hope is that I am able to combine my faith, education, and lived experience to communicate issues that broaden the perspectives of both, people living with diagnoses, and their communities.”
Our Recovery Home
New Life II’s recovery home offers an atmosphere of love, faith, hope and possibilities. A place where individuals are heard, seen, valued and respected.
We are a faith-based, Christian Recovery Housing/Recovery Community Center, however we believe that there are many roads to recovery–ours being only one. Our houses are open to everyone, no matter their religious background.