Eleven women sat front row in a room of nearly 60 attendees as they eagerly awaited the start of their HER TURN graduation ceremony. This group of women from Hempstead endured difficult upbringings, have struggled with trauma, addiction or mental health issues putting them at risk for HIV/AIDS often with little to no access to quality care. Nonetheless, they remained determined to find new hope. A fresh start, a reliable network of resources and the comfort of being with a group of women who’ve endured similar struggles are all opportunities offered at HER TURN.
HER TURN stands for Health. Empowerment. Resiliency. Treatment. Understanding. Recovery. Network and is one of Family & Children’s Association’s (FCA) newest initiatives to empower at-risk individuals within their community. The program is funded by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
The women engaged with HER TURN spend countless hours attending support groups and educational workshops led by a dedicated team of HER TURN social workers and volunteers. To incentivize women to attend the program and learn more, Walmart gift cards are offered as part of the community outreach plan and they’ve proved positive in the case of several graduates.
After receiving her graduation certificate, HER TURN graduate Cheryl Jenkins shared with the audience, “I came to the HER TURN Program for the Walmart card incentive and stayed for the groups and support.”
Two HER TURN graduates have been brought into the HER TURN aftercare program as volunteers to help mentor future HER TURN clients.
“I am proud to be part of the HER TURN Team; this event displayed what we can do together,” said Jeanne Cacciatore, program director of HER TURN. “HER TURN is truly a partnership between an amazing staff, awesome agency, external providers, community leaders, and SAMHSA; the focus is the clients, they are committed to helping each other move forward.”
Don Ryan, mayor of the Village of Hempstead, Siela Bynoe, Nassau County Legislator and Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO of FCA, shared words of wisdom as graduates progress towards a new stage of their lives, whether furthering their studies or doing volunteer work with HER TURN. The women were encouraged to take their strength and empowerment out to the Hempstead community as living examples of positive change.
Legislator Selia Bynoe said, “I am deeply impressed by the strength and resiliency demonstrated by the graduates of the HER TURN program. It was my honor to acknowledge their success and to encourage them to keep moving ever forward.”
“We are so proud of the wonderful women who comprised our inaugural class of HER TURN graduates,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds. “More proof that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution.”
HER TURN graduates had family and friends at the event and enjoyed a celebratory dinner after the ceremony. The event was held at FCA’s freshly renovated Family Treatment & Recovery Center in the heart of Hempstead which offers a range of programs and services to help families struggling with addiction.
Special thanks to the HER TURN team, to THRIVE Recovery Center’s Director Lisa Ganz for providing a live musical performance and to Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant of Garden City for their donations for the graduates and guests.
To learn more about HER TURN, visit www.familyandchildrens.org/programs-services/addiction/herturn.