By Mark Powell
A Place to Recover, a Place to Call Home
An office calendar can reveal surprising secrets. One day in 2013, Dr. Julie Frew looked at her schedule and noticed something disturbing. She is director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Addiction When George and Grace Rosado decided they wanted to help women recover from addiction, they didn’t realize they were pioneers. But they were.
As they set about starting New Life Home in Manchester back in 1977, they discovered there was no such thing as a long-term, faith-based residential recovery home for women. This simply didn’t exist. So the Rosados created one from scratch, which ultimately led to still more discoveries.
For example, they learned 90 percent of women searching for substance use disorder treatment were single mothers. Worrying about what would happen to their children raised a tremendous barrier for moms seeking treatment, so New Life opened its doors to mothers and their children with a mission of “saving lives and empowering women.”
“We have so many kids, and it’s wonderful to see them,” says Grace. “Where would they be otherwise? Maybe in the foster care system.”
New Life takes a faith-based, holistic approach to treatment with the goal of healing women’s “mind, body and soul.” Most residents stay at the facility between 18 and 24 months, working their way through three phases. Children of all ages are accepted; and New Life currently has kids ranging from infancy to 16 years old.
They’re split into age groups and given responsibilities, just like they would have at home. The children not only connect with each other but get to see the transformation in their mother. “It’s such a healing process for moms and kids because they’re healing together and growing together,” Grace explains.
New Life provides kids with education, tutors, enrichment classes, and activities such as sports, music and arts. Its warm environment lets them know they’re at home. Mothers and children living in the house become a family. One graduate says, “My daughter looks at her time in the house as one of the best times of her life. It was security for her. It was home. It was family.”
Just a few minutes of listening to former residents talk about the program makes it clear that New Life is unique. “This program has a very special place in my heart,” says Suzanne, a former program participant and current employee. “It saved my life 21 years ago.”
New Life Home offers services to women and their children free of charge, “I never get tired of saving lives,” says Grace with a smile.
That’s the thing about being a pioneer: once you’ve blazed the trail, it becomes easier for others to follow the path.
New Life Home was a featured award winner in the 2019 Innovation Now project of the Addiction Policy Forum.
J. Mark Powell is an author, former network journalist, and veteran communications expert.