The vision for the New Life Dream Centers was born more than 30 years ago in Long Island, New York, in the village of Freeport. A young pastor named Gaspar Anastasi had quit his job and started walking the streets of Freeport, ministering to drug addicts, prostitutes and those who had simply given up hope in life. But his ministry yielded only temporary results.
“I realized that people could hear the Truth but, because they didn’t know how to live it, they would just go back to what they knew,” Pastor Anastasi said. Real change would require a radical decision.
So one day, he took into his home among his own family a homeless drug-addicted man. Gaspar and his wife Michele showered the man with love and compassion. Seeing the overwhelming need, Pastor Anastasi and his pastoral staff renovated the church (from donations), eventually purchased property and, in 1983, the New Life Centers began.
In 2003, God started the same life-transforming work at Word of Life Church in southwest Florida. In three decades, He has used NLDC to heal thousands of broken lives, restore broken families and transform entire communities for the better.
New Life students abide by a rigorous daily schedule and strict rules and regulations which help to instill self-discipline. Each day includes biblical counseling, Bible training courses and assigned work responsibilities. Students are also required to attend various seminars on topics like Healing of Inner Hurts, Restoring Wholeness in Marriage and Single Parenting. Those without a high school diploma are given the chance to attend free GED classes.
Students also participate in various recreational activities such as supervised field trips, picnics and sports activities. One innovative aspect of our Program is the working stage, which comprises the last three months. It allows for gradual re-entry into the mainstream with close supervision. Therefore, students can complete the New Life Dream Centers with a job, a place to live, money saved and often with their marriages and families restored.
They also take with them the tools to be successful in all areas of life. Nine out of ten graduates go on to live whole, drug-free lives—an amazing testimony of life transformation—not just behavior modification. The NLDC is so successful, courts offer it as an alternative to incarceration.
As part of the NLDC program format, we now provide transitional living accommodations so that men and women who are in recovery can gradually re-enter society. In our transitional living center, they will find a positive and healing environment. We are committed to helping men and women learn to live sober and responsibly. We know that, with a willing heart and with the help of Jesus Christ, all things are possible!
The truly amazing thing about NLDC is that everyone—no matter how lost, how seemingly hopeless, how broken—everyone gets a new beginning, another chance to be the man or woman God created them to be. At the end of 15 months, NLDC releases into our community men and women equipped to be responsible fathers and mothers, reliable employees, better citizens in our society. The results are astounding: 90% of our graduates remain drug-free. Families that were broken have been restored. Lives that were shattered have been fully healed. And the community has taken notice.
In 2009, the Lee County Board of Commissioners cited the New Life Dream Centers for improving the quality of life in southwest Florida