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Author Bio

Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra’s memoir Etched in Sand, A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island (HarperCollins Publishing, 2013) 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. 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 (HarperCollins Publishing, 2016). 

Overcoming a childhood of abuse, neglect and abandonment in Suffolk County, Regina rose to serve in several high-profile public-sector roles including being appointed the first woman Chief Deputy County Executive of Suffolk County where she led the County through a fiscal crisis and the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. At the onset of the Covid pandemic, she founded a woman-owned boutique law firm. Calcaterra Law PC practice areas include social justice, municipal representation, and complex federal and state litigation.

Honors & Awards

Regina has received numerous awards and honors in her legal career and advocacy efforts including being awarded the Suffolk County Civic Service Award and Medal issued by former Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (December 2023); 2020 Trailblazer Award by the National Law Journal; New York’s Top Municipal, State and County Superlawyers (2020-present) by Superlawyers, Inc.; Champion of Civil Rights & Social Justice Award (City & State NY, 2018);  Woman of Substance Award (Seton Hall Law School, 2018); and Lifetime Achievement Award (Primi-Dieci Society, Italy-American Chamber of Commerce, 2015).

Not-for-Profit Board Membership and Advocacy

Regina serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Suffolk County; as a board member for The Felix Organization, which provides inspiring opportunities and new experiences to enrich the lives of children who are growing up in the foster care system; and as a member of the Board of Believers for You Gotta Believe, an organization that works towards permanency for older foster youth. Through You Gotta Believe Regina became a proud forever mom. She also served as a board member to the SUNY New Paltz Foundation Board for nine years.

Etched in Sand
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The Impact of Regina’s Books

Etched in Sand and Girl Unbroken have resulted in readers and those who have heard Regina speak:

  1. adopting older foster youth;
  2. becoming first time foster parents;
  3. becoming Court Appointed Special Advocates and/or guardian at litem to ensure that every child in foster care has a voice;
  4. changing the rules of a food bank that now allow children to get food without requiring that they be accompanied by a parent;
  5. creating an annual event called Teens Gotta Believe, where teens raise 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.
  6. further developing 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;
  7. 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,
  8. increasing fundraising goals and/or becoming first time contributors to related community based organizations.
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