Lives are being changed for the better at The New Life Program, a new organization that offers financial and parental support for fathers living in Nashville or Davidson County. One of the participants willing to share his story is Corey Vestal, who turned to New Life for personal and financial assistance.
Vestal is proud of the program, which does more than help with fatherhood. “It help you with all kinds of opportunities. It’s beyond the fatherhood part,” he said. “We provide them with resources to help them take care of their children,” explained Robert Taylor, founder of The New Life Program.
“If they need a job, we’ll help them find a job. If they need food or housing, we’ll help them with that, too. We provide all types of services to these guys, and it’s all to make sure that they can provide a healthy environment for their children to be raised.”
The New Life Program first opened its doors in June 2011 and is funded by the department of health and human services. Currently, the organization is one of 120 programs in the nation that offers fatherhood and relationship programs.
The program is vital to men like Vestal, who is passionate about being a father but needs financial assistance. “I faxed out my resume to 10 people in less than an hour at the program,” he said. “I’m trying to take advantage of all the things I can get.”
Vestal found out about The New Life Program two months ago when he was visiting The Tennessee Support Program. “They were handing out pamphlets for ‘New Life.’ So I called and got set up.”
Vestal has two boys and two girls, all of whom are between the ages of 4 and 8. He has another baby on the way. Currently, Vestal is engaged and spending his time as a “stay at home dad” as he looks for employment. Before getting involved in the program, Vestal was heartbroken over the fact that he couldn’t see his children.
In a society where some fathers leave their families out of cowardice, Vestal desperately wanted to be a father to his children but was restricted. “Early on, we ask the participants what brought them to the program.
Cory wanted help with custody,” explained Paxton Montgomery, a facilitator at New Life. As time progressed, Montgomery got used to seeing Vestal’s sad face during the classes. One day, out of the blue, Vestal was granted custody and everyone saw an immediate change in his spirit. “He came to class one day and was very happy. Tat was the progression I saw with him,” said Montgomery.
The program offers eight-week classes, including a boot camp class for new fathers where they learn to lay children to sleep, change diapers and other fatherhood tasks.
“The class is to make sure they’re confident enough to take care of a newborn infant in the house,” said Taylor. There are also lessons on anger and stress management, home ownership, self-esteem and other topics.
Vestal will graduate on October 20. After graduation, he plans to continue the job search and take advantage of the other things that New Life can offer. For more information on The New Life Program, call (615) 340- 8989.