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    Taking Strides Nomination Winners

    Please visit the Taking Strides Nomination page for updates on future campaigns!


    2022-2023 Winner: Mary Valdovinos



    Mary Valdovinos is a Fairfield County native whose once promising youth took a detour into the criminal justice system due to poor choices and subsequent struggles with substance abuse. Enduring over a decade of arrests, probation, and incarceration, Mary emerged with a newfound dedication to reentry advocacy.

    Today, after navigating both State and Federal carceral systems, Mary has transformed her personal journey into a fervent career in reentry support. As a Care Coordinator, she employs holistic approaches to prevention, intervention, and reintegration. Simultaneously, Mary mentors at-risk youth, contributes to the CT Juvenile Justice and Policy Oversight Committee’s Community Expertise Workgroup, aids individuals with pardons, holds certifications in Youth Mental Health Aid and Recovery Coaching, and serves as a community advocate.

    Driven by a profound desire to help others, Mary’s authenticity shines through as she strives to be the support she wished for during her own life struggles. In her spare time, Mary enjoys spending peaceful time with her dog or practicing yoga.

    Her mission is to uplift others on her own climb, as she fights to reshape the narrative surrounding incarceration and reentry.

    Reaction Statement

    “I am immensely honored to accept the 2023 Taking Strides Award and extend much gratitude to The Law Offices of Mark Sherman for this recognition. It is truly humbling to be acknowledged among so many others who are similarly taking strides to better their lives.

    This award represents more than personal achievement – it symbolizes the collective effort and support of those closest to me, including ones who have inspired me throughout my own journey.

    This recognition reinforces my commitment to helping others reestablish their lives and realize that we are more than our past choices. It serves as a reminder of the positive impact we can achieve, so long as we uplift and empower one another.

    Once again, thank you for this honor. I am both grateful and motivated to keep pushing boundaries and “Taking Strides” for excellence!”