New Life Corrections—A conversion experience transforms a former teen addict into a future fatherhood mentor

By
June 2017 View more

Drinking hard liquor. Smoking pot. Taking LSD. Mainlining cocaine. Stealing. Cheating. Lying. On the verge of flunking out of high school. From the age of thirteen until seventeen, this was Steve Madawick’s life. As an addict his life was spinning out of control, and he couldn’t turn to his father for guidance because his father was himself a functional alcoholic.

Despite being a great provider, Madawick’s dad also was an absentee father. It wasn’t until Madawick’s older brother came home from college one Thanksgiving, hugged him and said, “Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life,” that Madawick realized his life needed to change. His brother, Mike, who loved to party, had become a Christian.

Once Madawick turned his life over to God, his life changed dramatically. His grades improved. His addiction to alcohol and drugs waned. His relationships with others became healthier, including the one with his dad, who later found God and was able to become sober, as well. Madawick went on to major in business at Indiana University, got married, had two children and spent thirty-two years in retail and sales management before going into nonprofit work seven years ago.

Now Madawick is the senior chaplain/senior coordinator for New Life Corrections and Urban Youth Ministry at Wayside Cross Ministries in Aurora. He and several hundred church volunteers hold two-day Dads’ Seminars at correctional facilities throughout Illinois, helping to transform thousands of incarcerated fathers into men who are servant, and spiritual, leaders of their families.

“Ideally, we are trying to help these men because every problem in our culture today is related to poor male leadership,” Madawick says. “Nine out of every ten men who are in our program and/or are in jail or prison don’t have contact with their dads. The odds of people who don’t have a father in their home and getting into trouble is nine times more than the average person with a father in the home. Everything else follows below it.”

Wayside also has a program called Master’s Touch for men, which offers Bible-based, Christ-centered mentoring and residential living for those who have destructive behavior patterns, such as through drugs or alcohol. The goal is to reach as many troubled men—and women, through a program called Lifespring—as possible with basic Christian principles so that parents can offer good moral guidance to their young children. It’s a long-term process that requires a church community as well as accountability, mentorship and support within small groups, Madawick says.

One of the many who have benefited from Wayside’s help is Greg Kaloustian, an alcoholic for more than thirty years. Kaloustian was introduced to Wayside in September 2015 through his brother, who knows Madawick through church. His first reaction upon learning that Master’s Touch was not a rehab center, but a Christian residential program, was, “I ain’t going for this. I wasn’t one of those guys—religious people.”

Kaloustian is Christian, but hadn’t been a practicing one—until after starting with Master’s Touch. He is also grateful for Madawick, whom he sees as a spiritual father.

“I can see the importance of a father figure in life, and too many kids don’t have that any more, especially in this new age of computers when everyone is on their cell phones and everyone is kind of detached,” Kaloustian says. “Kids learn what they think is correct from the internet, from other friends, from the streets. To support your child is the most important thing because that is where you learn most of your habits—from your parents.”

Prison Ministry
The New Life Corrections Ministry has trained almost 400 volunteers to work with inmates in forty jails and prisons across the state. For more info, waysidecross.org/new-life-corrections.