Non-profit discovers ‘New Life’

Friday, October 19, 2018
Newly-reformed from an organization that had gone dormant, the board of New Life Connections includes (front, from left) Karlie Butler, Shannon Holt, JC Mandeville, Director Rachel Mandeville, (back) Dawn Pruitt, Chuck Tilton, Tony Modlin, Dena Irwin and (not pictured) Bucky Kramer.
Courtesy photo

Under the guidance of a new director, an non-profit that had nearly ceased to exist is ready to tackle the problem of addiction in West Central Indiana.

Rachel Mandeville did not set out to take over as director of New Life Connections. She simply wanted to learn more and do more about the drug epidemic in the area.

“It became very apparent to me that there was and is a need for people to get involved in helping in the drug epidemic. I just knew there had to be more I could do, rather than just sit back and watch it happen,” Mandeville said. “I began to put feelers out using social media, and it didn’t take long for a door to open, and I stepped through it.”

That door was to assume the voluntary role of director of New Life Connections, a faith-based 501c3 with a focus on addiction services.

“The organization had been ‘dormant’ so to speak for a while and I’m excited to not only revive it, but to lean into the world of addiction and stand with the oppressed,” Mandeville said.

The former director and board were contemplating dissolving the organization when one of them saw Mandeville’s desire to get involved and let her take the reins. Now she has a refreshed group of individuals ready to make a difference.

The board of directors also includes Karlie Butler, Shannon Holt, JC Mandeville, Dawn Pruitt, Chuck Tilton, Tony Modlin, Dena Irwin and Bucky Kramer.

“I am thrilled with the board of directors – I refer to them as ‘The A Team’ because they are truly the best of the best,” Mandeville said. “The combined amount of professional experience, life experience and education is quite simply unmatched.”

Mandeville says the vision of the organization is twofold, promoting awareness while actively helping those who are struggling.

“Beginning this year, we will focus on education and awareness as well as providing scholarships for addicts to enter into treatment,” Mandeville said. “We have been blessed with people on our team who are very experienced in addiction treatment – understanding the medical side of things, as well as the spiritual.”

The hope is to offer this kind of information in community forum-type settings.

“When people are aware of the issues at this level, they begin to open their hearts to help make a difference as well,” Mandeville said. “And when families of loved ones who are addicts are provided with sound information, they can have their hope restored.

“Along with awareness generally comes action. We anticipate that many folks will want to get involved when they see that it’s making a difference.”

The first of these educational presentations is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at Bethel Baptist Church.

Focusing on the science behind addiction, experts will connect the scientific side of addiction with the spiritual side. The statement, often said of addicts, “This is not the same person I once knew” proves true with an understanding of the way addiction changes the brain.

However, there will also be a message that God created the brain in a way that it can be healed and there is hope for restoration. It is not an easy process, and it works better when more people are educated on how it works.

Just as important as the education, the board of New Life Connections hopes to assist addicts who are wanting to get into a better situation.

“Our organization would also like to remove some of the financial burden for addicts who want to be able to turn things around but because of the cost they just simply can’t,” Mandeville said. “We have a grant writer on our board, as well as a lot of experience in fundraising.

“We will not be doing your typical fundraising events,” she said. “It will be fresh and different.”

Highlighting the fundraising efforts will be a 6:30 p.m. event on Saturday, Dec. 8. at The Old Normal Building in Ladoga.

The elegant, semi-formal event will feature the artwork of Rick Johnston, The Bearded Painter, whose original artwork will be available for purchase.

Music will be provided by students from the Butler School of Music.

Pre-sale tickets are $15 each, or $20 at the door, with the goal of raising scholarship funds to support those struggling with addiction.

Anyone wanting to learn more about one of these events or desiring to get involved may contact Rachel Mandeville at

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