As a pre-teen growing up in the ’80s and 90s, Hope witnessed the devastation that crack, heroin, and HIV/AIDS left on the communities she lived in. At 16 years of age, a bad decision caused Hope to be incarcerated for 18 years. During that time her curiosity on the ways to improve the communities she came from never waned. When Hope was released, she worked as a peer-educator/outreach specialist at Harlem United. Fueling her drive to help those like herself, Hope wishes to continue her education at CUNY Lehman majoring in social work and minoring in Law and Government. Hope’s career goal is to become a Social Worker who is helping reform the criminal justice system and mental health policies, focusing on preparing those who are to be released, reintegrate into society.

“My motivation comes from the women I encountered with mental health illnesses, who were incarcerated instead of hospitalized.”