Former Resident Spotlight

Crystal Pipkin – Collier Group Home – 1998-2000


As Crystal Pipkin embarks on a new career in law enforcement, it is clear she has achieved the goal she set for herself upon graduating from Kean University in 2004 with a degree in Criminal Justice. As a Parole Officer working for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Crystal is working with those convicted of very severe crimes but views their success as her mission. I was always interested in both Social Work and Law Enforcement, and parole officers actually wear both hats, Crystal explained. We do home visits, meet with their family, and have contact with everyone in their life.
 
Crystal's sensitivity to those who have experienced hard times undoubtedly comes from her own childhood, in which she was raised by a single mother struggling with addiction; she never met her father. Many [parolees] went in as youthful offenders and lacked family support.

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Nancy Nicolas – Collier Group Home 2002-2005

“I was miserable, and felt like nobody listened to me,” recalled Nancy Nicolas. “They wanted to think I had behavior problems, but I was a good girl.” Nancy’s description of how she felt prior to entering Collier Group Home is heart-wrenching, especially knowing that she truly is a “good girl.” Her words describe the five years she spent in foster care after her mother was deported when Nancy was just ten years old. After running away from her foster mother’s home, Nancy was hospitalized and then ultimately placed in a shelter, where she spent her 15th birthday. This was especially difficult since Nancy’s family is of Mexican descent, and this birthday in particular – one’s “quinceanera” – is as significant as many girls’ Sweet Sixteen. “It was so sad, and no one even knew it was my birthday!” remembered Nancy. “My life was not right, and I couldn’t see myself happy.”

That all changed when Nancy arrived at Collier Group Home in 2002...

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