One caring nun up in New York is helping women get readjusted to life after prison in a powerful way!
Sister Tesa Fitzgerald is the founder of Hour Children, a non-profit in Long Island City that provides housing, mentoring and job training for mothers recently released from behind bars. Since 1986, Sister Tesa has helped thousands of women (about 200 a year) to get their lives back on track through the program.
One mother, Stephanie Reis, knows the power of Sister Tesa’s work for herself. After Stephanie was released from prison after two years, Sister Tesa helped move her and her 2-year-old son, Major, into one of the nonprofit’s three apartment buildings, AND got Stephanie enrolled in college. “Sister Tesa’s love made the difference in my life, as I know it did and does for many,” Stephanie revealed to PEOPLE. “There’s been no more stumbling through darkness to figure out which turn is right. Instead, a hand is extended and you’re embraced the entire way. I’m extremely grateful.”
Check our more of Sister Tesa’s work with Hour Children below!
The program has also helped women to be able to rebuild relationships with their kids who visit, with Sister Tesa and her team encouraging the moms to even take parenting classes. “Our guiding principle is that children who grow up with their moms have a better chance of becoming successful adults,” Sister Tesa said. “We’re all about second chances. More than anything, we want these women and their children to have dignity and hope.” That’s what it’s all about!
Funded primarily through donations and sales from two Hour Store thrift shops, Hour Children also runs a food pantry and will soon be opening a teen center. Wow…Sister Tesa and her team are seriously busy! This nonprofit is so necessary, because often, ex-cons are written off without a second chance to come back and make a positive influence on their community. These women that take part in Hour Children have a real second chance to get things right, and this organization shows that there are people around who care enough to help them. I look forward to hearing more good things from them!