Alternative to Incarceration Program

From ATI Resident to College Student


We are proud to report the re-enrollment of one of our ATI program residents at Herkimer University, located in Herkimer NY. This successful transition of one of our participants from ATI Resident to fulltime college student shows the stark contrast of a young man making the trip upstate to go to college rather than one of many upstate prisons.


John* (not his real name to maintain confidentiality), age 28 and of Dominican descent, had previously attended Herkimer from 2006 to 2008 where he was pursuing a legal degree to become a state trooper. Trouble with the law lead to his arrest and John came to Abraham House, where in addition to his legal issues; he was able to address a myriad of other challenges. While in the program he was engaged holistically using a team approach as well as clinically through intensive individual and group counseling sessions. Throughout his rehabilitative and transformative processes, we witnessed the improvement of John’s self-image and confidence. Feeling his life getting back on track, John expressed to Abraham House his desire to finish his degree. He stopped looking for sympathy from others and began to seek guidance and resources to pursue his educational goals. 


Believing of his commitment to turn his life around, Abraham House staff worked diligently to help him achieve this goal. With our support and advocacy coupled with a positive collaborative partnership with the probation staff of the court system, we were able to see this through. Abraham House Clinical Coordinator Judy Juster was instrumental in facilitating the process of enrolling him in college. She accompanied him to the college on move-in day, and keeps in contact with him via telephone or email to provide continued support.


John is highly motivated to obtain a degree, now pursuing a degree in Recreation Management to become a Recreation Specialist. We are extremely pleased with John’s achievement of a 2.8 grade-point average for the semester, especially considering a severe sprained ankle which kept him from participating in the physical activity courses required, impacting his midterm grades. He was able to withstand his academic courses nonetheless, and prevailed in the end being able to participate in the physical activity courses at the end of the semester. He is proud of his achievement and is motivated to continue his journey to productivity and stability.  


Recently in town for winter break, John came to visit his “Abraham House Family” several times, and Judy helped him with his financial aid package for the upcoming semester. We at Abraham House are also proud of this young man’s accomplishments and commitment to turning his life around. It’s a very satisfying moment for everyone involved, illustrating the commitment of the Abraham House staff, the importance of our partnerships, and the high level of program and services offered at Abraham House. This also highlights, how for this population of society, one’s deep desire for change alone may not be enough - however a combination of supportive services, resources, advocacy and a helping hand are also essential for a positive outcome.