‘My goal is to be able to continually give back to nurses because I don’t want people to forget what nurses did.’
“I was an actress for many years before I became a nurse, but I always had this push to go into medicine. I’m Shinnecock, and my great-aunt was a World War II nurse who founded the first aid station on the reservation, so I just felt a connection to that and knew I wanted to do something medical.
“I went to Nassau Community College, became a nurse, and then started my career in a hospital. Most of the groups on Facebook were general nursing across the country—I couldn’t communicate with anybody who was from Long Island. My friend, who is an LPN, and I decided to make this Facebook group: Long Island Nurses. We started at 100 people, then 500, 1000, and it really started to ramp up. I noticed more recruiters were coming in and people started getting jobs, communicating, and I wanted the group to continue and not die out. I started to say, ‘You know what? I have this gift card … I’m going to put it in the group and give it away to someone.’ I love giving away stuff! So, every couple of months I would do a giveaway.
We need people to say, ‘We’re here for you. Here’s a scholarship. Here’s a car for two years. Here’s something to take the burden off you so you don’t have to worry about that one thing.’
“Then, during the pandemic, I had a surgery that didn’t go well and became very ill. I ended up in the hospital and saw the nurses and how hard they were working. Once I started to heal, I went around to different locations, like restaurants, and asked, ‘Would you be willing to donate a gift card to my group?’ And I got all these gift cards. Thousands worth. It was really fun. We raised $500 for a scholarship and the person who got it was going for her bachelor’s. So, then I was like, ‘Why don’t I go nonprofit?’
“I finally got my charity designation, so now my goal is to be able to continually give back to nurses because I don’t want people to forget what nurses did. They’re the ones who are having PTSD, who are crying. We need people to say, ‘We’re here for you. Here’s a scholarship. Here’s a car for two years. Here’s something to take the burden off you so you don’t have to worry about that one thing.’ That’s what I’m trying to do. I would love to see this take on a life of its own. It really makes me excited because I feel like we could grow in the future, get to more nurses, and continue giving to the people who deserve it the most.”