A Meaningful Journey: Discussing Re-entry with New Hour's Emerge Group
A Meaningful Journey: Discussing Re-entry with New Hours’ Emerge Program: In today’s world, where second chances are often hard to come by, some organizations stand as beacons of Hope for those who have faced the challenges of reentry into society after incarceration. New Hour, a remarkable non-profit organization, is one such Beacon. New Hour is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting justice-impacted women and providing successful support for mothers and children seeking a fresh start. It is located in Brentwood, Long Island, a far cry from my roots in the bustling city of Brooklyn, New York.

They offer a range of programs and services to empower formerly incarcerated individuals to reintegrate into society successfully. You can visit their website here. One of their inspiring initiatives is the Emerge program, a 12-week advocacy and leadership training program for those who identify as women and have been impacted by the criminal justice system. It provides a platform for dialogue and support among those who have experienced re-entry firsthand.

On September 19th, I was invited to visit New Hour and engage in an insightful conversation with the women.  I arrived on a beautiful, sun-filled day; the grounds were enormous and lovely. Although I didn’t get to explore everything, I watched the children get off the school bus and heard them giggling, waving, and saying goodbye. It made me feel free.

A Meaningful Journey: Discussing Re-entry with New Hour's Emerge Group

The Journey Begins: My visit to New Hour started with a warm welcome from their dedicated staff, who shared the organization’s Mission and Vision and the impact they are having on countless lives. From there, I got a cup of coffee and sat down, just observing and enjoying the women coming into the group, a diverse and resilient community of women who have faced the challenges of re-entry.

 Breaking Down Barriers: The discussion started with a powerful question: what are your biggest challenges during your re-entry journey? I recapped everything I went through as well as new challenges that arose. I shared the Right/Write to Heal group’s animated short film, “Doing Time – A Woman View”.

I listen to all the women tell their empowering stories. Their responses were candid and enlightening; they spoke of the stigma and discrimination, the hurdles of finding employment and housing, and the emotional toll of reclaiming their lives, especially with children. As we delved deeper into the conversation, it became clear that this program and its services significantly provided the tools and support needed to overcome these barriers.

One of the most inspiring aspects of the group discussion that day was hearing the personal stories of triumph over the adversary, their experiences of finding connections, pursuing higher education, and having a safe space to come to and get the help they needed. These stories served as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of organizations like New Hour. Throughout our conversation, it was evident that the Emerge program was more than just a support group; it was a tight-knit community that offered encouragement, understanding, and a sense of belonging. The bond formed within this group was instrumental in helping women navigate the challenges of re-entry.  As I left New Hour that day, I couldn’t help but reflect on the importance of organizations like this in our society. Their dedication to providing second chances – and even first ones – and breaking down the barriers for women who have experienced incarceration is commendable and essential.

My visit to New Hour and the Emerge group reminded me that re-entry is not just about rejoining society. It’s about rebuilding lives, restoring dignity, and creating a brighter future for all; it’s a reminder that, as a community, we can do more to support those taking courageous steps toward redemption and transformation.

My visit and conversations with the Emerge group left an indelible mark on me. It reinforced my belief in the power of compassion, support, and second chances. Organizations like New Hour make a difference in those seeking to emerge from the shadows of their past and step into a brighter future.

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