Nonprofit CEO Connie Bobo’s Commitment to Beating Adversity
How can a person be expected to seize an opportunity if they don’t know it exists? How is a child expected to excel when their school is on the brink of losing state accreditation? These are just a few of the many questions that have urged Connie Bobo on a lifelong path towards nonprofit humanitarian work.
But Connie didn’t start on the journey helping others to beat adversity without first having to do so herself. Starting with almost nothing to her name, she worked her way up with just her vision guiding her. Before long, she used this to make a difference to churches and communities of color, like with her work at New Heights Community Resource Center and Mind Your Mission.
A Career Based on Life Experience
Connie’s path and mission in life are part and parcel of her success. She’s lived the same sort of life that she seeks to alleviate, endured what she strives to help others avoid having to undergo. Adversity has been an inescapable force throughout her life, and she experienced discrimination and inequity from an early age.
Instead of letting the challenges she faced defeat her, she used them as inspiration to get where she is today. When, for example, she was transferred from an affluent, predominately white public school to one with a roughly 95% black student body, the differences in resources and funding were jarring, to say the least.
“My 10th grade English book was the same book I had in the 5th grade at Lindbergh School District,” said Connie.
In stark contrast to her former school, whose library was a dedicated, three-story building, her new school—later to be stripped of its state accreditation—had only a single room for its library, little more than twice the size of a classroom. “This alone clearly illustrates how literacy is valued at the two districts.” She continued.
Forging Her Own Path
For some people, the hand life deals can be an unfortunate but inescapable reason for your failure. So, Connie knew that only continued hard work and determination would prevent her story from becoming another tragic tale of predetermined failure. She knew that she would have to be extraordinary even to stand a chance of attaining a secure and purpose-filled life.
But at the same time, she knew that people (especially young people) shouldn’t have to do the extraordinary to attain the bare minimum of comfort and security. Connie is intimately acquainted with inequality. And because of this, she also has a keen sense of where (and how) to fortify communities against it.
Pushing Back Against Disempowerment
Connie has been tirelessly at work for over two decades and counting, doing everything in her power to push back against the odds stacked so heavily against those in under-represented communities. She’s helping nonprofits and other community-based organizations attain funding and implementing various ongoing programs to better the lives of underprivileged youth.
Since founding New Heights Community Resource Center in 2011, she has also worked with the organization to increase food security among children and youth. Apart from this, she coaches teens and young adults to navigate and successfully enter the workforce. She’s also helping students from underperforming schools gain admission and acclimate to higher education and provide enriching early education programs for young people with high needs.
With all of this under her belt, she could have rested easily knowing she had done enough for her communities, but Connie has so much more to give!
A New Way Forward
On the New Heights website, one of the first things you’ll encounter is an interesting quote. It says, “By the time many black children in low-income communities reach their eighth birthdate, they will have encountered at least three adverse childhood experiences” (Child Trends). Connie can verify from personal experience that this is no overstatement. The impacts of such early injurious experiences can be devastating—even life-altering. Accordingly, her vision for community empowerment begins before the child has even entered formal education.
And just as it’s never too early to start extending assistance to a child in need, the need for help doesn’t disappear after a year or two. Likewise, New Heights’ community support programs span from early childhood to adulthood, assisting underprivileged youths from their first school days to higher education and the workforce.
And as if that wasn’t enough, she’s also looking forward to helping spread the message of the fifth annual D.C. Area Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. Hosted this year by Teaching for Change’s D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice from January 31-February 4, it’s a local week of action that takes place in cities across the United States.
Fitting in with Connie’s purpose to improve school experiences for students of color, it also combines with another powerful movement—the Black Lives Matter Movement. As a movement, it also aligns with Connie’s principles, promoting a non-violent peaceful manner to systematically examine the injustice that exists at the intersections of race, class, and gender.
With all this and more in the works, it’s evident Connie Bobo is a serial entrepreneur making a difference!
About Connie Bobo
Connie Bobo is the Founder and Executive Director of both New Heights Community Resource Center and Mind Your Mission. Ms. Bobo holds degrees in Education and Corporate Communications and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional, Technical Assistant, and Professional Development Instructor. She has over two decades of experience in serving underprivileged communities through capacity building and implementing quality programs. An expert at business funding, nonprofit coaching, and creating professional development seminars, she can be reached through her website at Mind Your Mission.