Annette D. Scott
Supervisor I in the HIV and AIDS Services Administration (HASA)
Annette D. Scott has given to her community through 34 years of city service, but she also goes beyond, collecting bottles for international medical charities and taking on extra night work with the homeless.
And she did it all while raising five children, three of whom were, or still are, in the military.
No Wasting on Tuition
She encouraged her children to join the military, even calling military officers on their behalf. Scott says it was because she didn’t want to pay for their college tuition.
“I come from a West Indian background,” she said with a laugh. “We don’t believe in wasting money.”
Scott is a Supervisor I in the HIV and AIDS Services Administration (HASA) at the Waverly Center in Manhattan. Before that, she worked at the Bellevue Men’s Shelter (now the 30th St. Men’s Shelter) for 10 years, and she began her career as a Caseworker in Child Welfare (now the Administration for Children’s Services).
Helping New Yorkers with HIV and AIDS connect to the resources they need is a fulfilling job, and Scott loved helping the homeless in the shelter. But she still finds other ways to give back.
During a class at her alma mater, Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, Scott discovered a flyer asking for donations of clean, unlabeled prescription bottles. A student group had gotten a grant to deliver them to humanitarian medical charities in economically disadvantaged countries in Africa and other parts of the world.
No Grant? No Problem
Since then, Scott has collected these bottles both from her own family and from work, in a box she keeps in the office for donations. While the student group does
not always have a current grant to collect and ship the bottles, Scott mails large quantiies personally, paying the roughly $25 in shipping fees herself.
She also volunteers for extra late-night work about five days a week through the city’s outreach program for homeless people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The city pays its workers who volunteer to put in extra hours at end-of-the-line subway stations now that the subway is being closed overnight for deep cleaning. Scott lives close to a subway terminus, and usually works from midnight to 2 a.m. on top of her regular full-time job. Many of the tasks are similar to her work at HASA or in the shelter: she helps screen and place homeless people, and get them medical attention if needed. Many of the participants are very experienced, and they work alongside Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers and police officers.
Scott is a trained nurse, though she began working for the city instead of practicing that vocation. She speaks with pride about helping people in a different way—through her social service work—and teaching her children to help others, as well. Her son, a U.S. Marine formerly in the U.S. Air Force, now works for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, focusing on electronic Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Another son is a guidance counselor who also teaches basketball to special needs children, helping them learn discipline and stay healthy. A third is currently serving in the U.S. Navy.
Finding Ways to Contribute
“I always believe in giving back,” Scott said. “So I find ways to help people. And I thought that this was very fulfilling.”
She says that collecting pill bottles is helpful to everyone; it makes her coworkers feel good for donating, and it’s a good way of recycling plastics.
“I just feel good that I am helping the poor countries,” she said. Some of the least-developed countries in the world, like Malawi in Southern Africa, have so few resources that in some areas, doctors dispense pills wrapped in scrap paper or placed directly into a patient’s hand. In areas where thatched-roof and mud huts are common dwellings, a safe bottle can be invaluable. Some American animal hospitals or homeless shelters may accept donations of clean bottles, as well.
Scott gives back in other small ways, too. She helps supply her son’s guidance counseling office with books, gifts and masks for the children.
“I am giving back, but I’m giving back in a different way,” she said.