New Life was started in the early 1970’s by Bo Nixon. In his youth, Bo became affiliated with a gang in New York City, where he eventually rose the ranks and became a leader within the gang. During the same time, Bo made a connection with Young Life.
After Young Life’s departure from New York City Bo wanted to continue the work of helping the inner city, so he founded New Life of New York City. By the early 90’s New Life was serving nearly 600 youth throughout Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. New Life partnered with churches and other local organizations in order to grow and expand offerings to the children of the Lower East Side. A key part of New Life’s outreach was sports tournaments. They started a traveling youth basketball team which allowed the participants to experience different environments, compete with other teams in sometimes similar circumstances, and develop focused time to bond with and be mentored by New Life leaders.
They were also able to incorporate spirituality and growth through the utilization of their sleep away camp. The New Life sleep away camp allowed the organization to not only help the youth see other cultures and get away from the city, but also help them develop in four key aspects of life: arts, academics, athletics, and spiritual formation.