Carol Nash, Founder & CEO of Bernadette’s House
SpotlightSpotlight interviews advocates, community leaders and policymakers who have dedicated their careers to improving our communities, our nation and the world.
The mission of Bernedette’s House is to prepare pre-teen and teenage girls with the training, mentoring, and strength of character necessary to realize their full potential in a global society.
Interview conducted by GlobalPolicy.tv’s Nakia Gladden.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO THE WORK YOU ARE DOING?
Bernadette’s House was born out of my early life experiences. At the age of three years old, my birth mother was tragically killed. My courageous father sought help from those whom he trusted most to raise me in a manner that he considered fitting for an only daughter. I was eventually placed in a convent and spent my early years under the guardianship of Sister Maria Bernadette, a member of the Franciscan handmaids of the most pure Heart of Mary. This was the only order of African-American nuns in the New York City. As my legal guardian, Sister Bernadette was responsible for my total well-being, education, social and spiritual development. I named this company Bernadette’s House in honor of Sister Maria Bernadette, who was responsible for laying the foundation for the woman I am today, by instilling in me the values and social skills that made me seek to have high standards and a quality life.
As a Registered Nurse, I also recognized that it is not only physical pain that causes problems in our society, but also emotional pain, which sometimes goes much deeper, causing anger, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and apathy among our children. My hope is that Bernadette’s House will offer the same types of compassion, nurturing, training, and love given to me by this special lady.
Adopted in my later years, I also honor my adopted parents, Mr. & Ms. Percival Carter, for the love and compassion given me in my teen years. I hope to give back to my community by lighting a torch that will burn in the hearts of those who enter Bernadette’s House. Upon leaving the program, participants will proceed in their lives filled with self-esteem and hope for a bright future. I think that as adults, we have an obligation to each child to help them believe in themselves and to blossom and soar into their future with confidence.
TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Developing our holistic curriculum, which is based in philosophy and the premise that each individual finds identity, meaning and purpose in life through connections to the global community, local community and family traditions. This signature platform provides one-on-one mentoring that builds positive character, attitudes and behaviors in young girls prior to entering adulthood. Better training and exposure leads to better life choices.
In addition, this year we achieved another major accomplishment by finding an affordable facility large enough to house our programs and move us to a more sustainable future.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU GIVE YOUTHS WHO ARE A PART OF YOUR ORGANIZATION?
Dream big, do the work and always finish what you start no matter what the obstacles are placed in your path.
Take some time getting to know you. Spend time daily reflecting on your choices and how they will impact your future. Take time to think of others and how your behavior affects their well-being.
Build a spiritual base. Recognize that there is a supreme being that directs our path. Acknowledge your spiritual self.
Never let anyone discourage your dream or define who you are. Don’t spend alot of time living and reliving the past. I believe you must know your past in order to move forward, but you mustn’t allow yourself to get stuck, ruminating on past experiences, good or bad. Use your time wisely and stay in the moment. Focus on what you must do today to ensure your success tomorrow.
Find something each day to be grateful for.
HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Build downtime into your schedule. When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge. It helps to be proactive about scheduling.
Drop activities that sap your time or energy. Many people waste their time on activities or people that add no value—for example, spending too much time at work with a colleague who is constantly venting and gossiping. Take stock of activities that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them.
Rethink your errands. Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming household chores or errands. Could you order your groceries online and have them delivered? Hire a kid down the street to mow your lawn? Even if you’re on a tight budget, you may discover that the time you’ll save will make it worth it.
Get moving. It’s hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.
Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK AND HOW HAS IT INSPIRED YOU?
The Bible. I believe the Bible is God’s truth. When life happens (as it does with each of us), I can rely on the words of God to guide me.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY?
I love to travel because it provides an opportunity to challenge myself, enjoy new experiences and cultures, discover and enjoy new foods, and, honestly, to just have fun.
LASTLY, WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE HISTORICAL FIGURE AND WHY?
Rosa Parks. Miss Parks’ single act of rebelliousness launched the yearlong Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and caused a generation of African Americans to be continuously inspired. Her action forced the government to address civil rights in the nation. Those in the community took her lead and followed her bold example when faced with acts of violence and disrespect. As a people, we drew strength and courage from Rosa’s act of defiance. We continue today to teach our children of her legacy.
Carol Nash, MAR, BS, HCA, RN is a native New Yorker. Carol’s professional background includes nearly 30 years in healthcare and education which includes international consulting. For more information on Bernadette’s House please visit http://bernadetteshouse.org/.