Dress sale continues March 28 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1000 Elm St.
MANCHESTER, NH – For just one more day a vacant storefront at the Brady-Sullivan Plaza will be transformed into a pop-up boutique, where brand new dresses from Boston shops are being sold for $50 each.
They will fund the dreams of women, once broken by addiction, who have found their second chance at life.
The dress sale, which benefits the mission of New Life Home for Women and Children, began March 27 and continues March 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or until all 200 dresses are sold.
Executive Director Grace Rosado says the sale is a win-win – shoppers get amazing bargains on beautiful dresses and gowns, and the refuge for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction she runs with her husband, George, can go on.
“We don’t receive any state or federal funding,” says Rosado, excusing herself for a moment to give an opinion to one of the women trying on dresses Friday. “I like that one better than the first,” she says, as the woman heads back into the makeshift dressing room to try on gown No. 3.
The home is sustained through donations, grants and support from foundations, businesses, and churches.
New Life Home is a long-term recovery program established in 1979 “to provide rehabilitation, reunification and restoration” to single or pregnant women and mothers with children struggling with substance abuse.
The average stay is 18-24 months, depending on the situation.
“It was our calling,” says Rosado, explaining that years ago her husband was volunteering at a prison in Massachusetts when an inmate asked if he could help find a program for his wife, who was on drugs and pregnant.
“We couldn’t find one place in all of New England. And then we kept finding more women in need, so we started sending women to places all around the country. Eventually the first door opened for us when we got our first place, in Chester,” Rosado says.
But they quickly outgrew that space, and so they started looking around for a new home and put in a bid on the YDC property on River Road, which was up for sale.
“That was 1981, and we’ve been there ever since. We’ve helped thousands of women over the years. It’s unique because we allow the women to come in with their children. That’s usually one of the obstacles these women face,” Rosado said.
The faith-based program can accommodate up to 15 family groups.
Amy Langley, who grew up in Manchester, says she knows she’d be dead by now if not for the grace of God, and the second chance she got at New Life Home.
“I don’t think I’d be alive right now without it. In fact, I know I’d be dead,” says Langley, 32. She has placed three of her four children for adoption, but is reunited with a fourth child, a son.
It has been a difficult road, but she wanted her children to have a fighting chance at a normal and healthy life, something she never knew.
“My mother was an alcoholic and my father was a drug dealer. I started using drugs around age 10,” says Langely.
For the 20 years that followed, Langley “did everything imaginable” a woman could do to support her drug habit, from panhandling to prostitution. When she got caught up in heroin and spice, she hit bottom.
“I started going to church because my step-dad told me I needed it, so I’d go. Not for the religion. I just knew that if I did what he wanted me to do, then it would be easier to get some money from him to go out and support my drug habit,” Langely said
She has been living at New Life Home for two years.
“I thought two years would be enough, but I haven’t graduated yet. God recently got a hold of my heart and told me I had more work to do,” she says. “At first I was upset that I was still there, but now I realize that when I’m ready, it will happen. They haven’t failed me, not once,” says Langely “And my son never wants to leave. For the first time, he has stability in his life.”
Rosado says the current drug epidemic in New Hampshire is troubling. In these 32 years, she’s learned one important thing: 28 days in a rehab is not enough.
“That’s just the beginning. It takes time to rebuild a life. It takes time for them to figure out how to live again. If I could tell the city, or the state, one thing, it’s that long-term recovery makes all the difference,” Rosado says. “That, and God.”
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