Laura Fidler, Project Director, Deaf Justice Services Project
Laura Fidler, Deaf Services Project
Laura Fidler is heading up the vibrant new Deaf Justice Services Project.
BFL, the lead partner in the Project aimed at establishing protocols for Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing individuals who have survived sexual assault and/or domestic violence, is working with Harlem Independent Living Center (HILC), the District Attorney’s Office of New York (DANY), St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital’s Crime Victims Treat Center (CVTC), All Hands In Motion ASL Interpreters and CONNECT of NYC.
As Project Director, Laura brings a decade of experience in the field of sexual violence, along with a keen curiosity “to learn about how the deaf community defines justice for survivors and what role BFL and our partners have in ensuring justice.”
The Project is funded by the Office on Violence Against Women.
“As a public health professional I’m interested in understanding how violence affects communities differently, and in making changes at individual, community and societal levels to stop violence from occurring,” said Laura.
Laura was previously at the New York Alliance Against Sexual Assault where she oversaw the center of excellence in primary prevention. She was also a volunteer rape crisis advocate.
In her free time, Laura enjoys playing soccer.
Vanessa Fled Abuse & Found Safety At Secret Garden
Nearly blinded by her abuser, Vanessa found safety and hope at BFL's award-winning Secret Garden program.
Freedom House Gives Kids Hope
A video about the children's services dept. at freedom house, helping hundreds of kids heal every year after domestic violence.
From Homeless to Advocate
Stories of hope and renewal from former residents of BFL's Transitional Housing program.
Fleeing abuse, Alejandrina Cruz found safety at Secret Garden. Counseling and participation in the “cycle of violence” women’s support group lead to her signing the lease on a safe home of her own. Today, Alejandrina teaches Spanish to low-income families and is certified in self defense.
Georgette Delinois, Program Director at BFL’s Secret Garden, made her annual trek to Haiti this spring. As President of the Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East, Delinois has done the pilgrimage for the past eleven years, reaching out with medical, dental and mental health assistance to those in need.
“This March there were thirty of us. We saw over 900 individuals and visited schools and an orphanage in Port-au-Prince where St. Anastasia, my church, sponsors twenty-one children,” said Delinois.
During the mission, Delinois and her troop—which includes medical doctors, dentists, a midwife, a psychologist, lawyers, teachers and social workers—delivered school supplies and medical assistance. This year they also presented a micro-credit program, which offers skill building around launching “Ti komes” (small business).
Ms. S is a 46-year-old African American woman with post-traumatic stress disorder and a spinal disorder. She came to Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden program distraught and in need of help, fleeing domestic violence abuse. She met with a counselor and related that her boyfriend had exploited her financially, abused her verbally, and sexually assaulted her.
Working closely with her counselor, Ms. S began a journey to healing. She filed for an order of protection against her abusive boyfriend, had him removed from her home, and took him to court on rape charges. With the guidance of the Secret Garden’s counseling and attendance at domestic violence support groups, she eventually began a training program that led to work as peer counselor at the Baltic Institute. She became a member of the Barrier Free Living chorus, Voices of Hope, which performs at Barrier Free Living special events.
Vincent Grenier, BFL Board Chair
BFL Board Chair Vincent Grenier has a rich history with the agency, beginning over two decades ago when he worked as a therapist in the mental health clinic. “I was initially drawn to Barrier Free Living because I believed that I had a lot to offer working with people with disabilities. I have had a disability my whole life,” said Grenier. “I had the opportunity to see BFL grow dramatically in size and scope over the years. This means that we are able to help many more people than we were able to help 20 years ago.” After spending nine months as a therapist at BFL, Grenier became residence director at the Transitional Housing program. He currently lives in Northern New Jersey with his wife and two adopted daughters and is a wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch. “One of the groups of clients that I work with is families that have a child with special needs,” said Grenier. He enjoys spending time with his family and their two dogs, and vacationing in Cape Cod.
Ndidi Alimole, Intern
Ndidi joined BFL as a marketing and administration intern in 2011. Her goal: to contribute to our mission while building her job skill set. After six exemplary months, Ndidi was hired at Horowitz Associates as a Program Coordinator Assistant. “As an intern at Barrier Free Living, it was not only a rewarding experience, but also the right stepping stone toward a career that I knew I wanted,” said Ndidi. “Without my experience at Barrier Free Living, I never would have been ready to take on the roles and responsibilities that I’ve been given at my current job. It really prepares you for what’s out there, while giving you a sense of self-gratification for making such a remarkable difference in people’s lives.”