“Prison probably saved my life; but Hour Children saved my future.“ — C.D. (participant, 2015)
In the past year:
- Hour Children provided Supportive Housing to 199 women and children.
- 76 children benefited from the Hour Friend in Deed mentoring program.
- 132 women benefited from Hour Working Women Reentry Program, making them more qualified for livable-wage jobs.
- Hour welcoming playrooms at Taconic and Bedford Hills Correctional Facilities hosted more than 2,300 visits from children.
- 8,118 people used Hour Community Food Pantry.
- Only 2% of the women in Hour Children’s programs returned to prison (versus a statewide average of 39%). This means that women in Hour Programs are 10 times less likely to return to prison. As it costs about $60,000 to incarcerate someone in a New York State prison, this lowered recidivism rate saved the state of New York more than 1.3 million dollars.
- 100% of the children in Hour Programs successfully completed the school year.
Of course, Hour Work isn’t about numbers. It’s about real people and real families. Here are just a few stories of “Hour Success”:
Mimi, mother of Najire, age 6, and Serenity, age 3, has served as Office Manager for Hour Working Women Reentry Program (HWWRP) since July 2014. Coming to Hour Children from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, she began an internship at HWWRP in January 2014. From the time she started, Mimi’s poise, confidence, and outstanding professional and communication skills quickly became evident. She proved to be a natural at office administration. In addition, Mimi has represented Hour Children on panels and at meetings in which she discussed her experience as a mother going through the reentry process. Recently, Mimi went to Washington, DC, where she participated in a live broadcast debate concerning mothers and their babies in prison nurseries on The Stream – an Al Jazeera America news program. The support she received from Hour Children has enabled Mimi to create a future for herself and her children that is bright with possibilities!
Vicky enrolled in Hour Working Women Reentry Program (HWWRP) and began training. An active and interested participant in this program, she participated in classes, seminars, and internships with the goal of preparing for sustainable employment that would pay a living wage. When a woman comes to Hour Children, she must commit to giving 35 hours a week to her education, job training, and reentry-related tasks, but Vicky went above and beyond. She consistently gave more than was required and, as a result, excelled at all she undertook. She graduated from computer class and became proficient in Microsoft Office Windows 7. For her perfect attendance, she was rewarded with a computer. Vicky started an internship at Hour Children’s Thrift Shops. Due to her responsibility, reliability, and willingness to work hard, Vicky was hired by Hour Children as a weekend retail associate. Furthermore, while working at the thrift shop on the weekend, she started an externship on a “try before you buy” basis at Goodwill Industries in Brooklyn. After three months, she was hired by Goodwill as assistant to the case manager, earning $13 per hour with full benefits. These achievements speak highly of Vicky, and we are thrilled to count her as one of Hour success stories.
What does success look like for a young person at Hour Children? Meet Orion. He is fifteen and one of the most active members of our community in Long Island City. Since his family reunited at one of our apartments a little less than a year ago, Orion has built a busy and active life for himself. A tenth grader, he manages to consistently achieve honors level grades. This achievement would be enough for some young people. However, Orion is active in Hour Children’s teen group and Youth Empowerment through the Arts – our local teen theater program. This past summer found him commuting to Lincoln Center on the subway five days a week to participate in Fordham University’s STEM (science, technology, and mathematics) program. He is also an accomplished artist. We are so proud of Orion and our many other young people. With hard work and support from Hour Children’s caring community, they are moving toward a promising future filled with opportunity!
Released from prison after serving 10 years, Luz reached out to Hour Children for help finding a job – one of the stipulations of her parole. She was referred to Hour Working Women Reentry Program (HWWRP). Through the program’s comprehensive assessment process, it was discovered that Luz needed a breadth of skills and training to enable her to acquire a livable-wage job. She enrolled in HWWRP.
Living in Westchester County, Luz made the long journey to HWWRP’s program offices in Queens. Wholly committed to bettering herself, she was never late, and her performance in the training program was excellent. She attended and actively participated in all workshops and seminars, learning all she could. She graduated from HWWRP’s Basic Computer Class in June 2011 and became proficient in Microsoft Office Windows 7. As an acknowledgement of her perfect attendance and her commitment to her professional and personal development, Hour Children granted her a computer.
With each day, Luz demonstrated that she was eager and willing to learn new things. She assumed the role of a Lobby Leader for Hour Children’s Prevention of Domestic Violence advocacy efforts and participated in other committees to advocate for women in prison. Reports from her internship supervisor called her “responsible, reliable, and hard working.”
Luz’s interest in retail was satisfied when she was hired by Hour Children as a Retail Associate at “The Attic,” one of our thrift shops. This position allowed her to utilize many of the skills she gained during her time in HWWRP. Her superior performance in this role earned Luz a promotion to supervisor of Hour Children’s newest thrift shop, which opened in February 2013. In August, she moved into her own apartment with the support of the New York City Housing Authority’s Section 8.
Luz continues to do well and looks forward to a bright future.
A beautiful, curly-haired, one-year-old came to Hour Children from the nursery at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. He captured everyone’s heart, and that love nurtured him for six years until his mom came home. Today, Danny is a magna cum laude graduate of Queens College and is working in the film industry with his eye on Hollywood!
Jennifer shared a close bond with her single mom and lived a contented life in the Bronx. All of this changed when Jen’s mom was arrested and sentenced under the Rockefeller Drug Laws to 15 years to life. Jen, parent-less at 15 years old, came to Hour Children. She was thrilled that weekly visitation with her Mom could resume. She got her G.E.D., went on to St. Joseph’s College, and is now a New York City public school teacher!