Hour Children After-School Program

Tucked away among the warehouses and factories of Long Island City in Queens, New York, a group of special women and children work to rebuild their lives; the lives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children. Hour Children strives to help them successfully rejoin the community, reunite with their families, and build healthy, independent, and secure lives. Under the guidance of Sr. Teresa (Tesa) Fitzgerald and four other nuns, Hour Children provides compassionate and comprehensive services and encourages everyone to live and interact with dignity and respect.

Founded more than 25 years ago, Hour Children was named to acknowledge the important hours that shape the life of a child with an incarcerated mother – the hour of his mother’s arrest, the hour of their visit, and the hour of her release.[1]

Transforming Community Through the Arts' Hour Children After-School Empowerment Program provides an opportunity for school-aged children from pre-kindergarten through high school experience new ways of looking at their world through the creative arts. [2]

  • They created Masks that verify their identity and support the principle that everyone has a voice.
  • They decorated paper dolls, such as one covered with “tattoos” like mom and dad’s that could affirm the presence of familial support.
  • Another project asked the children to draw a crystal ball in which they can see their lives as they want them to be.
  • They were able to recognize and articulate their feelings through pictures of animals.
  • They wrote their own fairy tales and acted them out, selecting other children to join in their story.

From the attention of The New School students and the application of goals and creative arts lesson plans to achieve those goals, Hour Children experience therapeutic moments of transformation.

For additional courses and programs at The New School, see

Transforming Community Through the Arts

Social Change at The New School

1. Hour Children. (2013). Hour Children. Home page. Retrieved October 23, 2013 from http://hourchildren.org/#/1
2. Images taken by Harriet Serenkin
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