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Nina is a terrific cook of traditional Italian cuisine.
Nina is also a returning citizen from the NYS Department of Correctional and Community Services, having served a sentence of over ten years, then released from the Taconic Correctional Facility in 2016.
Nina’s reentry back into society was supported by acceptance into an Hour Children, Inc. communal housing program located in Long Island City, Queens where she successfully completed the Hour Working Women Program to prepare her for employment after having never been gainfully employed.
Her completion of the HWWP made her employable as the Program Coordinator of the Hour Children Community Outreach and Food Pantry.
She struggled daily with her addiction, then, the shame of relapse living and working among her peers.
Like Nina, the stresses related to living released from incarceration begin on day one, for so many, hoping for a supportive housing placement and reentry programs that will prepare them for success, independent living, employment and new positive relationships. Nina was to experience all of these stressors while living as a returned citizen.
Also, like so many, who struggle with addiction, and past domestic violence abuse, Nina, having relapsed, needed to be admitted to a rehabilitation program, where she would gain support for her addiction recovery and learn to acknowledge and to accept her many talents.
Nina's history, of past domestic violence abuse and recurring trauma, is a lifelong struggle that is not fully attended to, for 85% of women while incarcerated, with a history of domestic violence abuse. It is an ever present struggle for women coping, like Nina, “outside the walls.”
With the help of Hour Children to be placed into a long-term rehabilitation program, Nina was accepted and completed her rehabilitation, then began successfully working towards rebuilding her life facing the unknown prospects of finding permanent housing, new employment, access to social services support systems, along with the courage to embrace new opportunities with her new appreciation and acceptance of her many talents.
That is why Nina’s story is worthy of our attention.
Post her rehabilitation program Nina applied and was accepted into the upcoming 2021 John Jay College The Navigator Certificate in Human Services and Community Justice program, while also completing her NYS Department of Parole requirements.
In the past year, Nina was the first formerly incarcerated woman to speak at The Cornell Prison Education Program and was a speaker at the Columbia University School of Social Work.
Nina also now serves as a community liaison person throughout the NYC boroughs for Osborne of NY, Inc.
Finding permanent housing is a still a goal for Nina, now in her mid fifties, as it is for the thousands of formerly incarcerated people in NYC boroughs, who have motivated advocates to urge the NYC Council to pass Fair Chance for Housing, eliminating discrimination facing formerly incarcerated people. She is currently working towards finding independent living in an apartment.
Nina is on her way, overcoming the odds of post release recidivism, with supportive reentry programs, and is a model for all formerly incarcerated women!