New Life Ministries is a Christian outreach ministry founded by Rev. Victor Torres to help individuals struggling to overcome life controlling problems such as drug and alcohol abuse. The main goal of the program is “To help people with life controlling problems restore their lives by applying Christian principles through spiritual, educational and vocational programs.” New Life describes its program as having three components: helping the addict, ministering to the broken, and educating communities about the dangers of substance abuse.
Rev. Torres created the program after having himself escaped a life of drugs, gang involvement, and crime on the streets of New York. His vision to create the ministry was realized through the founding of New Life for Youth in 1971. Though founded in Richmond, Torres’ program has grown into a nationally recognized rehabilitation program. The men’s facilities is known as “The Ranch,” a 118 acre facility located in Beaverdam that was built in 1975 after the center’s first two buildings were outgrown. There is also a women’s home known as the “Mercy House.” In addition to the Richmond centers, there are additional programs along the eastern seaboard. The current operation houses over one hundred students and employs twenty full-time staff.
Students in the New Life program spend twelve to eighteen months in the Youth Program, where their time is divided between classroom and vocational assignments. Students are instructed through spiritual, educational, and vocational training to become responsible and productive members of society. The programs combine biblical instruction to build character, academic teaching to increase educational background, and vocational training to help prepare them for the job market. New Life has a tutoring and mentorship program with the goal of encouraging confidence in the path of learning that is often compromised through drug abuse. The objective of the program is to help every student to “trade their drugs for an education.” Many students have followed the program to get their GED. New Life for Youth is recognized as a place where, “young people enter…..and emerge as positive and contributing members of society.” The program has a documented success rate of over seventy percent for those who graduate from the program.
A group of staff and students called “God’s Miracles” serve as a traveling outreach team from the center, visiting churches or community outreach programs to share testimony and music. Through music and ministry, they spread the message of Jesus Christ in an attempt to rebuild lives of those in need.
New Life for Youth, Inc.
P.O. Box 13526
Richmond, VA 23225
Interview with program staff
Profile prepared by Daniel Scruggs