nicole laborde haitian home health owner
Nicole Laborde works with students at her Ideal School of Allied Health, on Long Island. Courtesy: Ideal School of Allied Health

Nicole Laborde was a teenager when she arrived from Haiti with her mother, in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood, in 1986. Soon after learning English in high school and through television, Laborde had to figure out what to make of her life and career. 

After graduating from the now-defunct Prospect Heights High School in Crown Heights and working multiple food service jobs, Laborde enrolled in a five-week nursing assistant training program. It would prove to be the first step in realizing her calling. 

“I decided that I would work full-time as a nursing assistant, again thinking, ‘what is my path, what is my purpose,” said Laborde, who now resides in Coram, New York, with her husband Capenter Laborde and their two children, Shaena and Sheldon. “I did promise myself that I needed to better myself, that I was not going to stay as a nursing assistant.”

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at or on Twitter @sambojarski.