Regina Calcaterra’s memoir Etched in Sand, A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island (William Morrow Paperbacks) is a #1 international best-seller and a New York Times best-seller. As a result of Etched in Sand’s messages of resilience, optimism, the plight of foster children, that no child is a lost cause and how we can all positively impact the life of a child in need, it has been integrated into college and high school curricula throughout the U.S. and been selected for community reads. She is also co-author of Etched in Sand’s sequel which she wrote with her younger sister Rosie Maloney, Girl Unbroken, A Sister’s Harrowing Journey from the Streets of Long Island to the Farms of Idaho (William Morrow Paperbacks). Girl Unbroken has also been integrated into college curricula alongside Etched in Sand.
Etched in Sand’s and Girl Unbroken’s impactful messages include those of resilience, optimism and perseverance; how kind acts can forever impact a child in need; the vital role of the public library system, public education and the public university system on impoverished children; how educators can forever impact transient children; that no child is a lost cause; childhood hunger, poverty, abuse, abandonment & homelessness; the power of sibling bonds; risk of homelessness for young adults aging out of foster care parentless; determination to succeed regardless of social status; and breaking the cycles of addiction, alcoholism, child abuse, homelessness and incarceration.
Etched in Sand and Girl Unbroken have resulted in readers and those who have heard Calcaterra speak: adopting older foster youth; becoming first time foster parents; changing the rules of a food bank that now allow children to get food without no longer requiring that they be accompanied by a parent; creating the first program at a Long Island library that provides library cards for the homeless to allow them to access all of the library’s resources, although they do not have a permanent address; becoming guardian at litem and CASA members to ensure that every child in foster care has a voice; learning how we can all forever impact the life of a child in need although they may only be before us for a moment in time; and, increasing fundraising goals and/or becoming first time contributors to related community based organizations. Additionally, after learning that foster youth age out of the system parentless, a teen created an annual event called Teens Gotta Believe, where he raises community awareness about the need for adoptive parents for older foster youth and raises funds for You Gotta Believe, a not-for-profit that works towards getting older foster youth forever homes.
Calcaterra is a partner at the law firm of Wolf Haldenstein where she practices securities litigation and federal civil rights litigation. Prior to joining Wolf Haldenstein, she served as Executive Director to two of the New York State Governor’s statewide investigatory commissions, Deputy General Counsel to the New York State Insurance Fund, Chief Deputy to the Suffolk County Executive, Deputy General Counsel to the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Director of Intergovernmental Relations to the New York City Comptroller and a partner in a securities litigation firm.
Calcaterra serves as the second vice chair to the SUNY New Paltz Foundation Board; as an Ambassador to Library for All, a global effort to eradicate childhood illiteracy in third-world countries; and, on the Advisory Committee to the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. For close to ten years, she served as a board member to You Gotta Believe, an organization that works to get older foster youth adopted.
She has received awards and honors such as the: Lifetime Achievement Award, Primi-Dieci Society and the Italy-American Chamber of Commerce; Speak Out for a Child Award, CASA-NYC; Geraldine Ferraro Award of Courage; The Children of Bellevue Award for serving as a role model for foster children, Tom Collichio, Chair Children of Bellevue; Woman of the Year Award, East End Women’s Network; and the Maxine Postal Humanitarian Award.
Praise for Regina Calcaterra:
"Regina Calcaterrra’s life as expressed in Etched in Sand is heart-wrenching, breath taking and awe-inspiring. She speaks with transparency and truthfulness without sugar-coating or passively expressing what life was like. It was an evening that has galvanized further action in support of foster care."
--Vicki Clark, SPECTRUM, Clarkson University
"I can’t tell you how happy I am that I attended Regina Calcaterra’s presentation last night! I was moved when I read Etched in Sand while on vacation this summer, but must say that hearing Regina in person was a compelling experience and the most inspiring presentation/program that I’ve experienced at Clarkson in my memory."
-- Employee, Clarkson University
“The event was fantastic!! The feedback from our attendees has been overwhelmingly positive, and Regina was the perfect speaker – poised, powerful, compelling, relatable, and moving. There were many tears in the room yesterday afternoon, and we raised a great deal of funding for The NYSPCC’s programs. Regina’s request for support of the agency was so heartfelt – she’s absolutely amazing.”
--Sabrina Martin, Soigné Events LLC, For The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Praise for Etched in Sand:
“Riveting from start to finish. Calcaterra narrates her story in the present tense, which adds a painful immediacy and urgency to an already gut-wrenching account. Yet never once does she flinch from the terrible truths with which she has lived and so courageously reveals here.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
“This true story of a woman surviving domestic abuse as a child, emancipating herself as a teenager, and then becoming a successful attorney is courageous and fascinating, written with a descriptive restraint that recalls moments of tragedy and perseverance with simplicity and subtlety.”
-- Publishers Weekly