Helping recently incarcerated individuals THRIVE
Leon's Way INC. was created by Crystal Shepard to empower and improve the lives of individuals and families affected by incarceration. Leon Harris was a young black man who struggled with an addiction to PCP. Leon spent almost half his life in an out of jails, prisons and treatment center's. His addiction took him away from his wife, children, mother, brothers, sisters and a host of other family and friends.
Leon's family attempted many times to obtain assistance but he would often reply with " I will figure it out". This cycle continued for 16 years until his untimely death on March 23rd, 2020 due to overdose. Throughout Leon's trials and tribulations he was mostly homeless. When he did have stable housing he was able to find a job and gain sobriety. However, once he lost his housing his cycle of addiction and homelessness continued. Leon participated in many forms of treatment some voluntary but most mandated by courts, parole, probation ect.... Leon would often complain of his time in groups as being a waste of time. He utilized his time there when he did attend more for social purpose rather treatment.
Here at Leon's Way Inc, we believe every individual needs a safe and stable living environment. We also believe individuals should be provided with the best treatment model tailored specifically for their individualized needs. The purpose of incarceration is to rehabilitate an individual with the intentions to decrease recidivism. The reality of being released is many individuals lack the basic necessities to survive let alone strive. The first step in rehabilitation is habilitation. Formerly incarcerated individuals have served their time in our jails and prisons and with the advocacy, assistance and guidance received at Leon's Way INC. Formerly incarcerated individuals have a chance to change their lives.
We assist individuals who have been formerly incarcerated with adjusting to their communities by providing stable housing and connection to treatment. We advocate for families and assist them with the reentry process of their loved ones.
Assist our members with obtaining transitional, temporary or permanent housing.
We provide anger management, interactive journaling and individualized therapies with licensed professionals.
We advocate and assist with linkage to community providers for Substance Abuse treatment, Mental Health treatment and more...
Crystal Shepard is the driving force behind Leon’s Way Inc. and serves as its president. Crystal earned her Bachelors and Master’s degree in Social Welfare at StonyBrook University. Crystal obtained her LMSW in 2015 and is currently working to obtain the LCSW. Crystal has obtained years of working experience in the field while working for various Non- Profit agencies. The two most influential were as a Forensic Case Manager Supervisor and a Residential Assistant at a homeless shelter. While working as a case management supervisor Crystal was able to develop a Forensic specialty team serving clients who have been formally or currently incarcerated. Here Crystal was able to assist clients with rebuilding relationships with the community and most importantly their families. This job also served as a learning opportunity and offered a glimpse at the disparities and stereotypes placed on people who have been formerly incarcerated. During her tenure as Team Coordinator of the Forensic Team, Crystal has developed a comprehensive network of personal and professional contacts with key community leaders. Crystal’s experiences at the homeless shelter are invaluable to her resume. The shelter system in Suffolk County is in need of more providers like Leon’s Way INC. who offer a solution to the County’s long term issue of chronic homelessness. This will be instrumental in raising the profile of Leon’s Way Inc. within the community as well as having a significant impact on fundraising activities.
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission.