What do you get when you combine a brilliant group of blossoming young women with the idea that life is about much more than chasing some guy? Well, in addition to budding youth mentors and focused college students, you get a group of young women who are ready to change the world. Today’s Woman to Watch is young in age but mature in her greatness. She and her team are teaching young women to dream big!
Please introduce yourself…
Hello! My name is Korinn Y. Carter, 22, and I am a graduate of George Mason University with my BA in Psychology and Communication and I am currently enrolled (although I’ve taken a leave of absence for now) at the University of Maryland at College Park in the Couple and Family Therapy graduate program. I’m from Richmond, VA and a single father and a strong grandmother raised me into who I am today.
Tell us about your work…
Korinn: I am the visionary and Co-Founder of Chase Dreams Not Boys (CDNB), currently a student organization on the campuses of George Mason and Old Dominion universities. My company, CDNB Inc. is a blossoming non-profit organization and our goal is to have a chapter of CDNB at every college and university. CDNB is a women’s empowerment organization geared towards the minority female populations on college campuses and the female youth in those surrounding communities. We are a service-based organization that encourages peer mentorship, community service, and youth development. Our goal is to build up our young women before they get a chance to be broken down.
Why did you decide to start Chase Dreams Not Boys and why do you think it is important?
Korinn: I envisioned CDNB as being a program that I would’ve benefited from in my youth. Being raised by a single father, I didn’t have a lot of female influence but from my grandmother so I constantly sought out female “mentors” in the presence of my teachers and friend’s mothers. If CDNB was in place when I was finding my way as a young woman, I believe that would have helped me tremendously on my journey. I am also very involved with the rearing of my goddaughters, and I wanted to create something positive for them to grow into, be apart of, and learn from.
I think it is important for girls that look like me to have something that they can relate to, feel comfortable being involved in and actually gain something valuable from it that can change their lives.
What impact, if any, does Chase Dreams Not Boys have on women?
Korinn: For the youth that CDNB outreaches to, they are gaining a unique mentor experience of value by young women who aren’t far removed from that period of their lives so they are more relatable and in tune to their issues. For the college members of CDNB, they are gaining the opportunity to give back and inspire younger girls to strive to be where they are or better. The members also gain by participating in rewarding and innovative campus events, leadership and volunteer opportunities and the support and friendship of like-minded peers.
What has been the most rewarding part of your work and what are you most proud of?
Korinn: The most rewarding part of my work has been seeing the impact we make on the youth when I’m directly volunteering. At the end of the CDNB Outreach program, we “graduate” the girls with an amazing closing ceremony where they release balloons into the air with their dreams attached and it never gets old seeing the look of hope those girls have watching their balloon or “dream” float off into the clouds. I am most proud of the success that the second chapter of CDNB is having in Norfolk, VA right now. A year ago we expanded, in hopes of being able to duplicate what we did in Fairfax, VA and that chapter has exceeded all of our expectations and dreams. They now have over 100 ACTIVE members on campus! That’s just AMAZING! I am so proud of them and all of their hard work.
What has been most challenging about your work?
Korinn: The most challenging thing about starting, maintaining and expanding CDNB has been manipulating my time so that I am “keeping all of my plates spinning.” School has always been a priority because it was ingrained in me growing up that that was necessary, but CDNB became my passion.
Managing priorities with passion wasn’t always easy. I recently made the decision to take my own advice and “chase my dreams,” so I’ve decided to put school on the back burner and give CDNB my all … So we’ll see what happens 🙂
What is your favorite quote and why?
“Enjoy the journey”
Korinn: My favorite quote is “Enjoy the journey” and a close second is “Festina lente.” “Enjoy the journey” was the mantra my father and I used to get us through any and everything, be it stuck in traffic or financial hardship. I have it tattooed on my foot to constantly remind me that this is my journey and life is too short not to just enjoy the ride. “Festina lente” goes in conjunction with “Enjoy the journey” because it means “Make haste, slowly” which is how I move in the world. It is an oxymoron that encourages one to perform urgently yet carefully, maintaining the “flow.”
Who are your greatest influences?
Korinn: My greatest influences are most definitely my parents – two of the strongest, most head strong, and dedicated people I know – who both made unequivocal selfless decisions to ensure my existence and that my purpose in this world is fulfilled. So, fulfilling my purpose is not only for me and for the people I will help, but for them as well.
What would you like for your legacy to be?
Korinn: This is an amazing question! I listen to Beyonce’s “I Was Here” very often and (although this may sound a bit morbid) I want it to be sung at my funeral. I want to leave this world knowing that my divine purpose was fulfilled, that I gave it my all and that I have inspired as many as I can to be better and do better than they thought they could. I want to be apart of changing the world, and even if my impact is nothing more than a ripple – I hope my ripple sparks another and another.
What’s next for you and Chase Dreams Not Boys?
Korinn: Right now my team and are focused on building the strongest foundation we can so that we can sustain all of the huge things we want to do in the future, and we look forward to gaining our official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status so that our reach can go beyond what our personal pockets have allowed us thus far. We hope that 2014 will be the year where we gain as much support as we can so that when we do become “official” we can kick off with a running start!
Is there someplace online where readers can connect with you and follow your work?
Korinn: Yes! CDNB.org is our official website, we have an online store where we sell CDNB merchandise to support the Outreach program which is now running at 4 different sites amongst our chapters servicing around 75 girls. We have merchandise for toddlers, kids, teens and adults! We also have a Twitter twitter.com/iChaseDreams and Facebook facebook.com/ichasedreamsnotboys and Instagram @iChaseDreams. We are available to host individual workshops in the DMV areas for girl’s organizations, sports teams, churches, etc. Our e-mail address for all inquiries is info@CDNB.org.