Valeri Bocage CEO
Powerful Women International Connections
Years ago, I was introduced to Carrie Nikitin by phone and was very impressed by her demeanor and confidence. I expressed my interest in not only working together but with our team effort toward transforming her vision into reality. However, I did not know how or when. A few years later, when the PWIC Executive Team wanted to rebrand the company, I decided it was time to call Carrie. Our focus was to educate and train women humanitarians to make a bigger impact in society.
As I spoke to Carrie about joining PWIC, I asked how she wanted to help others. Carrie said, “Valeri, my vision and passion are to create a platform of independence for those coming out of prison to assist them with their transition back into society. I did this successfully when I lived in California, and now, I’d like to expand that vision and do something even bigger. I want to provide education and training that will build the inmates’ self-esteem, so they won’t ever return to prison.“
Carrie’s passion for helping prisoners moved me. I knew of people who were innocent, yet incarcerated; and those who were unable to gain employment after their release due to having a prison record. I also knew good, young people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were imprisoned for it. I’m also impassioned to help those living in poor environments through providing education and training to support them, thus, changing their lives.
Chair, PWIC Prison Project
Environment vs. Vision
An example of this was years ago when I taught dance to low-to-moderate income teens to help build their self-esteem. Some of the teens told me about a student named Edward, who we called “Peanut,” and who dropped out of school in 8th grade. When I spoke with him, he told me his Mom and stepfather had deserted he and his siblings to pursue careers in journalism. He said since their Mother did not want them and their stepfather hated them, what was the point of going to school? Wanting to make a difference in Edward’s education, I visited his school and spoke with his teachers. Our purpose was to make Edward’s education going forward a reality.
To our delight, Edward graduated and went on to pursue a career in dance at Julliard Dance School in New York. He danced professionally for years and now teaches at a high school in New Orleans. I believe without intervention (by myself and others), Edward would have been selling drugs on the streets or hopping from one low-income job to another. Most likely, he would have gone to jail.
Many young people wind up in prison due to their environment. Single mothers on welfare or who are of low income cannot care for their children. They turn to prostitution and other crimes that put them in jail. It is a vicious cycle that we need to fix. My daughter said, “At times, it seems like people are going round-and-round in a clothes dryer and need someone to open the dryer door so they can get out. They just need a little help or someone to believe in them.” I enjoy helping people to build their self-esteem. It seems to be my vision and mission in life.
Implementing the Vision
Carrie’s vision is to help change the mindset of men, women, and children in low-income communities before they or their children go to jail, as well as educate and train those soon to be released from prison, to better equip them with reentering society.
We shared Carrie’s vision with our members, and many have since started working with prisoners or have integrated programs to aid Carrie’s vision. Since Carrie is on our Executive Team as our Business Strategist and so many of our members have the expertise and want to help, we dubbed it our National Project for PWIC with Carrie being the Chairwoman.
Carrie discussed our National Prison Project during our last monthly Global Training Conference Call a few weeks ago. At first, she was looking to expand her vision in a few states such as Michigan and California, which would participate in the Prison Project Pilot Program.
However, Robin Tai, a PWIC member living in New Orleans, suggested her city will be a good place to utilize the Pilot Program since crime rates are soaring, and some areas still need to be rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. The team agreed New Orleans would be the spot for our Pilot Program.
Implementation and Growth
I ask myself, did Carrie know how all the pieces would fit together when she began her project working with prisoners in California? I think not. Did she believe in her vision in spite of fear and obstacles faced? Yes! In doing so, she now has members and community/political leaders working together to support her vision, including a new city for the Pilot Program, all creating a bigger impact on society.
Carrie has assisted so many of our PWIC members with their visions and projects. She uses the success of others as her inspiration. We are all so proud and happy to have Carrie on our team. She brings a huge brilliance and heart to everyone she encounters.
Tips to transform your vision into reality:
1. Take time to identify your vision.
2. Hod onto and believe in your vision.
3. Release your fears.
4. Take action as if you are a football player running to make a goal.
5. Identify the who, what, when, why and how of your project, and allow it to blossom.
6 .Build your vision and network with like-minded people in spite of obstacles along the way.
7. Be passionate about your target audience and aim to make a difference.
8. Be open to new ideas for bringing your vision to reality.
“When we change the mindset of those living in at-risk communities, we reduce recidivism and make more productive citizens. We change society, and together we make a Bigger Impact.” ~ Valeri Bocage
Ms. Marion Bieber
Join PWIC in our efforts to make the world better.
Lead and Be A Champion!
Join PWIC Women Humanitarian Leaders Global Map to showcase how you are making a difference in society. Complete our World Leader’s Map (at no cost) to showcase how you are making a difference in the world. The added benefit is to build a highly admired personal and company brand.
•Become a member of Powerful Women International Connections.
•Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
•Mark your calendar to attend our Global Impact Conference, November 2-3, 2017
Some of our Humanitarian Member Projects include (but are not limited to):
•Children at Risk
•Empowering Developing Countries
With your help, we can expand our projects, unite more women humanitarian leaders, and help them make a bigger impact. We would love to hear from you and learn what your vision is and how you are implementing it to change lives.