In 2001 our founder Lisa Cohn began leading a 12 step support group at Nassau County Jail. There is a program called DART(drug, alcohol, rehab, treatment), where women can elect to reside if they acknowledge they have a drug or alcohol problem. Lisa began helping many of these women when they left the jail, and saw firsthand the often deplorable conditions they were living in.
Wanting to do something, Lisa realized that she’d probably need a college degree and additional knowledge to even attempt to open up a facility for these women. In 2008, after completing her degree in Human Service Management, Lisa worked with another non profit until she realized that formerly incarcerated women and addicts were indeed not a popular cause. She then went about starting her own non profit 501(c) 3 and in 2010 Living Water for Women was incorporated.
It was not until 2012 that a suitable facility was finally found. Actually two former boarding houses were purchased and then renovations began. These houses were despicable but they were the example of so many “sober houses” that have been allowed to operate. We wanted to do better! So many volunteers came through our doors, donating labor, materials and money to help renovate every room in these two very run down old houses. After many worked tirelessly, in January of 2014 we had our official grand opening!
More about Lisa Cohn, Executive Director
Since 2001 Lisa has been facilitating weekly workshops at Nassau County Correctional Center. It is here that the vision for Living Water was originally birthed as Lisa saw women returning multiple times to jail. Most often this was because they had no sufficient support system as they reentered society. Lisa oversees the daily operations of the Living Water homes in conjunction with our in house manager to create a structured lifestyle and calm in the ever present conflicts of the day.
Lisa was President/Owner of Lifeline Communications, Inc. from 1981- 2011. Knowing that she would one day open Living Water, Lisa returned to college, receiving her degree in Human Service Management from Empire College. After selling Lifeline Communications, she was able to devote all her time to Living Water for Women which was formerly founded in 2010. Lisa received the Community Merit Award from the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce, was Vice President and President of the Chamber for many years. It is because of her former business experience, that Lisa has retained and cultivated the ever important contacts in the local community. Through these contacts our clients are receiving food, clothing, tickets to art museums & concerts, free gym membership, and job internships. Many of our volunteers providing workshops, mentoring and counseling have also come through former business connections and friends made in the local community.
‘I was concerned about these women. When they were released from jail, many of them had no place to go. I wanted to help.’