On Sunday, September 17th, Nyene Baker of Trenton’s Visionary Philanthropy Group Inc. was honored by the City of Trenton at Shiloh Baptist Church’s Annual Pan-African Heritage Day Celebration. This event is an effort of the Shiloh Baptist Church Pan-African Ministry under the umbrella of the church’s Mission and Evangelism Ministry.

The ministry’s mission is: “To support and aid our brothers and sisters from throughout the African diaspora who are immigrating to the United States and relocating here in the Greater Delaware Valley area.” Through this important work, the Pan-African Ministry of Shiloh believes that by exhibiting, highlighting, and celebrating the cultures, values, knowledge, and skills from native lands, they can create a culture of awareness, acceptance, and unity among all people within and outside of the diaspora.

Over the day, several guests were honored for their incredible contributions to the Trenton community and beyond. Nyene Baker was honored for his work with Visionary Philanthropy Group, a nonprofit organization devoted to enriching the lives of youth in the City of Trenton. Prevent Child Abuse NJ was also honored alongside Worlue Kokro, a relative of Baker’s and a board member of Prevent Child Abuse NJ. Kokro played a vital part in the event Sunday, serving as an event organizer and presenter for the afternoon. Worlue Kokro also honored her mother, Rose Kokro, for her service to the community and family through caregiving.

Trenton Daily recently spoke with Nyene Baker regarding this accomplishment and what it means to be honored for his work in the community. Reflecting on this event, Baker noted: “I just wanted to change one life and make an impact on the world, so when I received the email by Shiloh Baptist Church unknowingly saying that they were honoring me, it had the same impact as when I read the great news in an email in Federal Prison that I had just won my appeal, and I was granted compassionate release after over a decade in prison.”

Continuing, he noted, “I thought to myself with flashbacks of the memories of all the trouble I’ve been in in my lifetime, and here it is, my nonprofit, and I getting honored. I started crying; it was surreal. For hours, I was just in a zone; I was so proud of myself. I want to thank God because none would be possible without him. Being honored means the world to me.”

In discussing the work that has led to this point, Baker said, “It’s the greatest accomplishment in my life thus far. I want to leverage this accomplishment to show people in the world who have been incarcerated, made wrong choices, had setbacks in life,  etc., that no matter what you have been through in life, no matter how late you start, your dream, vision, and plan can be accomplished. It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.”

The ethos behind Baker’s approach was simple but profound: “My dream and vision was just a dream and vision until I started executing!” This is a testament to the fact that no matter where you are or what you’ve done, it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality. After some changes in his life, Baker made it his mission to spread the love and has been enriching our community’s youth with this same motivation and support.

Baker discussed his experiences working with the community’s youth: “I invited my mentees, Shem Askew, who is 12 years old, and Xylon Rodriquez, 21, to encourage, motivate, and inspire them. Although I’ve been in so much trouble and spent 15 years in federal prison, I made a great comeback and made a difference in the world. When I invited them, I intended their life to be about helping others, doing the right thing, and Ending Relentlessness Determines Success, which I, for my brand, “Nerds with Swag,” a lifestyle I live by.”
An inspirational tale of triumph and tenacity, Baker and Visionary Philanthropy Group will undoubtedly continue to enrich our community for years to come. If you have a vision for improving your community, don’t be afraid to pursue it because you never know the lives you’ll change.
For more on Nyene’s work, please check out this recent podcast: Be Helpful Podcast. You can also follow Visionary Philanthropy Group Inc. on Facebook and Instagram.

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