Today, we are honored to highlight Melissa Zola. She inspires us at JAR to continue to support the John A. Reisenbach Memorial Scholarship program at John Jay College and our other non-profit partners.
Melissa describes her accomplishments and goals as a John Jay Scholar:
I am honored to be a Reisenbach Scholar, and to contribute to the Foundation’s mission to improve the safety of New Yorkers. This spring I completed my third semester at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the Forensic Mental Health Counseling Masters program while externing at EAC Brooklyn CRAN, community reentry assistance network. CRAN is a case management agency started under the Brad H laws. These laws were intended to stop the practice of discharging inmates with mental illness from the city jails without psychiatric medication or treatment referrals.
As an extern, I meet with clients on Rikers Island for video conference assessments as well as meeting with released clients in the office, where I detail the services we provide and connect them with treatment providers and housing as needed. I perform outreach and follow-up to ensure they are receiving appropriate care and community resources. By offering support and connecting them to programs which help prevent recidivism, CRAN allows for the successful reintegration of former offenders, thereby helping to protect the residents of our city.
I feel I have been successful at this externship due to my graduate studies at John Jay in addition to your support. Your scholarship has allowed me to work less, focus more time on my studies, and dedicate more energy to my externship duties. I look forward to graduating a semester early this fall, when I can begin looking for full-time counseling positions and continue working with individuals with mental health issues and criminal justice involvement.