Today we’d like to introduce you to Nelson Hincapie.
Nelson, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in Colombia to parents who loved me as much as they could, but unfortunately could not provide the love and stability that as a child I needed to have a healthy development. As a child, my grandmother once told me, that if I prayed with enough faith, I would have the family that I wanted. I would get up an hour earlier than I needed so I could stop by a church near my bus stop in the morning so that I could go in and pray. For a while I prayed everyday and it seemed like the more I prayed, the more my parents fought. My mother left the house when I was nine years old and I didn’t see her again until she went back to get my sister and I almost two years later. My life quickly spiraled out of control. By age 15, I was doing drugs and anything to get my hands on them. By 18, I had been arrested. By 24, I was standing on the ledge of a ten-story building ready to jump off. Camilo, who was also standing on that ledge with me, ended up taking his life. I was lucky. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life. On November 11, 1997, my mother who tried to help me in any way she could, checked me into a drug rehab in South Miami. At that place and for the first time in my life someone asked me, what happened? Instead of what’s wrong with you? There I learned that compassion is the key to healing. Slowly I started learning about who I was, I worked through my childhood pain. I was able to forgive and a healing process began. I went to the Honors College at Miami Dade College, became the President of the Honor Society, won a Presidential Scholarship to FIU and began working on the Universal Pre-K Campaign with David Lawrence and Mayor Alex Penelas. A few years later, I went to work for then commissioner Carlos Gimenez. Early childhood and service to children pulled hard and so I entered the child welfare system as Director of Development for Children’s Home Society. There I learned about foster care and the many children who enter foster care with incredible pain in their hearts. Much, like I had when I was a child. After two years the opportunity to be the CEO of Voices For Children came up and the rest is history, as they say.
Today I get to serve hundreds of kids and young men and women who unfortunately are in the foster care system or have aged out of the system.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth ride, but I have learned to enjoy the bumps. Most of my struggles come from my mind, in other words, they’re not real. It’s stuff that my mind tells me…I’m not good enough, it’s not worth to try, I’m too old, I’m too young, it’s too much work, if only I had this or that. It’s all noise. The more I learn to tame the mind, the smoother the path becomes. It may not be that there are less bumps but simply that I am better adjusted. I have learned that I need to put as much effort to work on my spiritual life as I do on every other aspect. There are many spiritual tools available. For me the Rosary is a great one.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Voices For Children Foundation – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am the President and CEO of Voices For Children Foundation, an organization that raises funds to ensure that abused, abandoned and neglected children in Miami-Dade County have a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and that have the resources needed to cover their health, educational and social needs. We have an incredible team on the Voices side, it’s quite small but mighty. The COO, is an amazing person who takes care of everything on the operations side so that I can focus on the transformations that need to occur for children to have what they need in order to thrive. I specialize in facilitating the transformation process of young men and women that have unfortunately come into a situation that has brought them to place that is full of fear and uncertainty and does not provide the love that every child needs and deserves. Voices is that special place that they know they can count on and call when they need support or just someone to talk to. We listen to kids without judging them and we love them unconditionally. We try to make them understand that there is great power from owning our personal stories. We help them navigate through the challenges they face.
Is there a quality or characteristic that has played an outsized role in your success?
I think transformations begin with compassion which is the result of having love in your life. Today I feel incredible loved by my Creator, by my amazing wife, by my beautiful children and by an entire community made up of both children and youth in care and incredible leaders. When I am able to feel compassion for the pain of the people I interact with, then I can understand them better. Not having a judgment which comes from the fact that I was also one of them, I was also once in a very dark place and have overcome that darkness, and I want to show them they can overcome theirs as well.
As a wounded healer, I understand their pain, loneliness, and despair.
- Phone: Phone. (305) -324-5678
- Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @VoicesForChildren
- Facebook: @VoicesForChildrenFoundation
- Twitter: @Voices4Children