In this New York Times piece, Sister Tesa Fitzgerald of Hour Children is profiled for her exemplary work with incarcerated mothers and their children in Queens.
She called her organization Hour Children, for the critical hour of the mother’s arrest, the hour allowed for visits, the hour of her release. When some neighbors tried to block her expansion, papering the area with signs protesting a home for drug addicts and prostitutes, Sister Tesa took two women to a community board meeting to talk about their lives.
“By the time they finished, they had everyone in tears,” she said. “The negative people drifted off. That was the last time we had opposition.”
Today Hour Children provides permanent or temporary homes to as many as 70 families, often taking in children when their mothers go into drug programs or return to prison. “If you fail here,” said Carol Taylor, 65, who moved into one of the organization’s group homes after serving 35 years for murdering her husband, “you fail because you choose to fail.”