New Life II is the first Black-Owned, Faith-based & Peer-Led RCO 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.
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.”
Sthefany has dedicated her life to the customer service/Administration field. Sthefany has gained intensive knowledge on the field through her job experience at Macy’s, Nilda Negron Law Offices, and the Center for Human Development. Sthefany is currently finishing her Social Services Aid Certification at Capital Community College. The partnership with New Life II is allowing Sthefany to gain knowledge on the social service field and allowing her to network with other agencies to expand her knowledge on the field.
Tayna Howard, MSW
Tayna Howard has thirty years of experience in healthcare, mental health, and criminal justice settings and has designed and implemented comprehensive training and employment programs for people living with mental illness, substance abuse issues, homelessness, and those returning home from incarceration.
She developed community transitional programs for the developmentally disabled and those living with mental illness and substance abuse and implemented Hartford’s first annual Reentry Employment and Resource Fair.
As the Program Supervisor for Adult Mental Health Residential Program for Young Adults and the Adult Mental Health Transitional Living program, she assists with crisis intervention and development of intervention plans.
Ms. Howard currently serves as a liaison between the Center for Human Development, Capital Region Mental Health Center, State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Conservators, and Medical providers.
Ms. Howard was a recipient of the 2005 Marie Stiller award for “Woman of the Year.”
William H. Church, Ph.D.
Bill Church is an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Neuroscience at Trinity College in Hartford CT, retired in 2020. 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.
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.