By Jon Cronin
Over the past 25 years, Hour Children, a nonprofit that aids formerly incarcerated women with children trying to get back on their feet, has been quietly changing lives and broadening its scope throughout Queens.
The group began in Long Island City at a house on 12th Street that Hour Children still rents from St. Rita’s Roman Catholic Church.
“It’s still a convent,” said the non-profit’s founder and executive director Sister Tesa Fitzgerald, who added that there are still two nuns living in the house, which is home to 13 families in the Working Women Reentry Program.
Hour Children took its name from the idea of the three precious hours in the life of a child with an incarcerated mother— the last hour they have together before jail, the hour allowed during visits and the first hour of reunion following time served.
The group not only provides a clean and peaceful atmosphere at its eight locations, which feature temporary and permanent housing in Queens, but also promotes a culture of support among women who commit to leading a new life.
The nonprofit has training facilities for its program with onsite social workers, mentors for children and case managers who work one on one with women in the program.