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May. 16

With the unPrison Project, Woman Born in Prison Brings Hope, Life Skills to Incarcerated Girls and Women

Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Deborah Jiang-Stein, who was a Top 10 finalist for the L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth Award in 2017. Each year L'Oréal Paris and Points of Light recognize and celebrate Women of Worth who make a beautiful difference in their communities. Ten honorees each receive a $10,000 grant to support their most cherished cause, and an online vote determines one honoree who will receive an additional $25,000 grant. Nominations for 2018 are now open! If you know a woman who works to create lasting and significant change in her community, nominate her to be one of the 2018 Women of Worth.

Deborah Jiang-Stein, founder of the unPrison Project.

Born to a heroin-addicted mother in an Appalachian prison, Deborah Jiang-Stein spent the first year of her life in incarceration, then bounced between foster families until she was adopted. After overcoming the harsh realities of her past – including an addiction of her own – Deborah set out to empower and inspire incarcerated women with the hope and tools they would need to succeed in life after prison.

Now clean and sober for more than 20 years, Deborah leads the unPrison Project, providing incarcerated women with education, literacy, recovery and mentoring programs to prepare for a successful life after their release.

“This is personal for me,” Deborah says. “More than 200,000 women are incarcerated in the United States, and 2.7 million children under the age of 18 have a parent in prison. I was born in a prison, heroin-exposed because my birth mother was untreated and didn’t get the help she needed. Telling my personal story inside prisons empowers and inspires incarcerated women and girls with hope, and with life skill tools for success outside prison.”

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