Vicky Trinidad: a sunshine, dynamic and all round

Interview January 2019

Vicky, we have heard from people, that you are a very dynamic, talented and a driven person.
Can you share with us some of your family back ground?
“I was born in Curaçao and the rest is a little bit complicated and a long story. I grew up with my aunt since I was 6 months old. This aunt is the sister of my father and I call her my Mom, because she is my mommy (Iris Trinidad). My biological mother went to live in Holland and my father went a little later to Holland and they were already separated. Both of them, I didn’t hear or see a lot of them.My biological mom uses to send me cards, one of my birthdays and one on Christmas. She did this till I was 13 years old. But I never had an address or a phone number of her. I don’t know so much about my biological mom. I know from my father’s family that I have 2 sisters and one brother.“

But you know, I am very fortunate because I grew up never feeling that I missed anything until I was an adolescent, I started asking questions about why “this” and why “that” about my biological mother. There are two words that I almost never use: “Hate and dumb”. I don’t judge people and therefore don’t judge her. She must have had her reasons and I don’t blame her for not being involved in my education and my life when I grew up. I’m not the one to judge. I wasn’t there and I could never walk in her shoes to know why she never took care of me. So, there is also nothing to forgive. When she made her a choice, at that time, I guess that was the best choice for her to make. You will never know what that someone was feeling when they took their decision.

I met my older brother by coincidence, when I was 15 years old and once I lived in Holland I went out and looked for my biological mother, curious to know whom she was and to find out if I looked like her or something. In October 1997, I finally met her. And it turned out that I had another brother, younger than me. So, I finally came to understand that I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters, from different fathers and “it is like it is”. I love them all and I talk to them all. My Mom (Iris) was and still is very supportive and so is the rest of the family here in Curaçao, but also in Holland. Whenever I have a crazy idea my mom gets a heart attack first and then she sees why I’m so excited. And together we talk about the options. My sister Jo-Ann in Holland, is my Number One fan, she always tells me, how much she admires me. I have a boyfriend now for almost 4 years and he supports me in my craziness and my hectic live and work. And his family too He even comes up with ideas for me”.

You have studied and worked in Holland, right?
“I went to Holland in 1997 when I was 20 years old. I went to study Ergotherapy, but ended up studying “Sociaal Pedagogische Hulpverlening” with a certificate in “Ambulante en Medische Zorg” because Ergotherapy had a lottery system which I missed. I also combined this with a Sociaal Juridische Dienstverlening. In those days, I wanted to look good and show to the world that I could handle two Majors. But you know that didn’t work out at first because especially after I became sick for 4 to 5 months, I changed my plans. I went to work for a Telecommunication and Technological firm. And I was challenged after being hired as a telephone operator after two months when the secretary of the director asked me to help them out with his PowerPoint presentation which I have mentioned on my CV that I have mastered. Which in those days was still very unique. But, I didn’t master this as well as they thought I did, but my boyfriend then, he is computer whiz kid, helped me out on the phone and after two days I delivered and the director was very happy with what I did with his PowerPoint presentation.”

Does this typifies whom you are, not afraid from the unknown and challenge, having courage?
“Yes, for sure. Because after, that they offered me, after working there for some time, to work for them for an indefinite time, but I decided to go back to school and finish my studies, because I thought I would look good in the eyes of others. Btw I don’t do this anymore, pleasing others. If and when I say “no” it is a “no”. But back then in my early 20-ties, I was like that. “

You used to work for SSC as a mentor?
“Yes, I started in 2004 and stopped in 2011. I loved working there because helping others, especially students to get their education in the best of possible ways gave me great satisfaction. When I left to Holland for my advanced education, I went without any mentoring. And I met a lot of other students those days all complaining about the mentoring via SSC. So, I decided why not help out by giving a helping hand as a mentor. “

Where did that caring for others come from?
“Well, my Mom is a dedicated and caring schoolteacher and she always worked to let her students become the best they can be, giving extra curriculum during schooltime and in the afterschool hours. So, she empowered them and never left a child behind. I was fortunate enough to have her as a mother, so she inspired me and that explains how I am. In a sense, it is “monkey see, monkey do”. You know when I go around with my mother these days, we meet ex-students and their parents and they still express their appreciation for how my mother had impacted them when they were a student.”

You decided to come back to Curaçao although your future was unsure? When did you come back?

Since 2012 I was planning to come back. In the year 2011 one of my best friends, Vaneska Vis, a colleague at SSC, decided to move to Bonaire. And then my Sister Jo-Ann also left in January 2013 to live in Bonaire too. We used to live together in a big house I bought. So, when they started to leave Holland, I myself started to think about coming back to Curaçao. I sold my house and with the intention to save more money. What happened at that time is that I got sick in the beginning of January 2014, I had Breast Cancer stage 3. Another long story. The best thing is: My mom came to Holland and stayed with me till the end of my treatment. So, I decided to stay longer in Holland because Health Care is somewhat better than Curaçao. The thought to coming back still in the back of my mind.

By the beginning of 2016 I started to look for jobs and in February 2017 I packed my bags and I was back in Curaçao on 21st of March 2017. Life is short. And after having survived Cancer, you really know that life is. That I’m here telling you this, is a miracle of sorts. So, when you get an opportunity to do something, do it. Because tomorrow you might not be here. I missed my family so much and my Mom is getting older. The other thing was that my boyfriend was also in Curaçao. So, the question was, Why not?!”

Your are project leader of CURA DOET and in that sense involved in making lots of volunteer work possible. Would you explain to us what your work is all about? How many full timers and part timers are involved in your overall work?
“I have one of the best jobs. Because I haven’t had a day that I wake up and say: I don’t want to go to work. When you love your job, it doesn’t feel like working. From filling all forms to get the “subsidie” till completing the project is my job. Curaçao Cares Foundation is the main Foundation and CURA DOET is one of the projects we have. We try to connect NGO, Companies and Volunteering together. CURA DOET is the biggest volunteering Action on Curaçao with 6.500 people volunteering. The job gives me a great feeling. Grateful to see every project crystalizing and all those happy smiles. We 4 now working together with 1 super intern. We all work freelance. We all have our own company. Beside us, we have a great board who supports as all the way. I can say I have learn from the best, Janis Vinck.

It is fun to have all those different types of contacts, their stories, my colleagues, my office hours that are not 9 to 5 working hours. You know a job title is not my thing. When I came to Curaçao I started to spread my CV around among friends and people I knew, visited network opportunities. I took a job in helping organize Carifta as volunteer, I was motivated to help Curaçao strengthen its reputation for being able to offer a good organization of the Carifta games, but for me it was also an opportunity to network and to showcase my skills. So, as I don’t believe in formal application procedures, this was an excellent opportunity to show to people what I was made off. I was also helping ACECollege (offering MBO and HBO-education) in 2017 with their rooster, teaching some classes and helping out in their afterschool programs and helping SOAW in writing project-documents, tools and curriculum for youth. But the main thing, my strategy to show case my skills worked perfectly because in July 2017 Curaçao Cares Foundation approached me for the first time and then by the 1st of October 2017 I was called again and offered the job as project leader of CURA DOET as the budget for SOAW dried out and in a sense, I considered this to be a present from heaven. I gradually stopped my work for ACE college in December 2017. But I still do some side jobs like in 2018, I also worked for a medical specialist from Colombia as a side job. He is applying Stem Cell Therapy, but I quit at the end of the year.

I am the secretary in the board of Curaçao Zoo and vice president for the Football Federation UNDEBA. It’s my way of giving back to the community. Beside this I’m an Education Consultant at Bircham University. I have my own foundation call Stichting Exprys and in my free time I help other to write projects. I have a lot of ideas and hope I can do a lot for my community.”

What are the outcomes that you are aiming for CURA DOET?
“Last year I aimed for 225 volunteer projects and we ended having 250 projects and we ultimately ended up with 303. This year 2019, I aiming for 310. Why? It is great to expand and grow but you have to keep the quality of the projects in mind. But we already have over the 330 projects. We know that the overall awareness on the island is growing, but the way projects are handled and how volunteers are managed in the interpersonal relationships area, also needs to mature. Another thing is they need to be there for each other and we need to learn that we don’t need to wait until Christmas to start the preparation and caring for each other, they can work on the preparations during the whole year. We need to learn and feel how nice it is to do something for somebody else. Through radio, television, Facebook and Instagram we are going to promote this. If you are not the focal point but others, you will benefit anyway.”

What kind of activities are you supporting?

“It’s a little too much to answer. It’s from diving with turtles and clean part of the ocean around Curaçao, Cleaning up the beaches, Helping schools with painting their school or classroom, going out with the elders, taking care of the homeless, touch up kindergardens, Helping the zoo, Scoutingclubs, helping Sport federation to maintaining their “facilities”, painting with autistic children, taking care of our Archeology etc.
Go to See the list.”

What are the challenges of the volunteer organizations?
“I would say to be open to meet other new people and to deal with the financial limitations and create something creative with it.”

How do you experience the willingness of people to be involved as volunteer?
“Well I can say that a lot of my friends and my family are helping. Before they were like: why should I, because they thinking they have a lot to do at their own home, so why helping others. The minute I explain the benefits to them and they get in touch with others and hear their story, they change. And this is what happens to others. 

I am a connector, it is about give and take and be aware that you are not the center of the world the whole day and I am very aware of that. I always say: No matter what happens is life, you need someone or you will need someone to help you. Today is their turn, tomorrow is yours. Money is not everything in life. Lifting others up and helping others, is the best way to show that you care and that you don’t expect anything In return.”

Can you explain your relationship with Curaçao Cares? And with the donor funds supporting CURA DOET?
Reda Sosial supports us in Curaçao. And from Holland Oranje Fonds. In Holland you have NL Doet, and so all the other island participates. It’s a Koningrijks ding. Union. The greatest thing is that it happened on 2 day on all 6 island and Holland. In 2 days more than 300 projects are being help. CURA DOET 2019 is on 15th and 16th of march.

What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
“To be a better person and to be a better me every day. To be a useful person. Last year I found an old Friends-Book and way back in those days, I was already thinking and feeling that I wanted to be a useful person for my community. I didn’t wright that I wanted to be an advocate or a doctor or accountant. I just wanted to be useful for others, helping others. And It is exactly what I still love to do and doing it. I got this from my Mom. She is always ready to help someone. Look what she did for me when I was a baby. She was young, wasn’t marry and she could have travelled the world but instead of that, she chooses to take care of me. And time after time I have seen how she did this for the family. My role model.
I love to wake up and see myself happy, feeling and knowing that I did a great deed and someone is overly happy because I help them. I love what I see in the mirror. They are no problems, I see solutions.”

How do you keep your skills up to date? 
“I like to read books. Nowadays, these are E-books. I like to read about the human being. Why we act like this? Why we think like this? The psychology part of it and the dynamics between people is so interesting. My skills? I’m sometimes terrified of myself, because I can easy do something I never did before and learn it easily. I’m a very quick learner. And that is why my job must be interesting, because for me the money is not everything. I can’t see myself in that office from 9 to 5. I like to see movies and documentaries. It doesn’t matter in which language, as long as they have a subtitle. In Curaçao, I haven’t follow any courses yet, but when I was in Holland I went to too many of them. I love meeting people. I invest first I my family, friends and I love to network and share with them my ideas. “

What are your strengths?
“I can see the positive sight of something easily while others will not see this;
I can talk easily to a stranger and maintain an interesting and entertaining conversation
I love to challenge myself;
I can organize like nobody else can;
I easily motivate others and I have great sense of humor.”

Do you have other hobbies or interests that you are passionate about apart from singing?
“How did you know about my singing? Well, I am not singing anymore these days. I used to be in the M.I.L.-choir when I was going through my secondary educational education with Tania Cross, I used to sing in the church choir. I use to love singing in a group not solo, but never aiming to make a career out of it like Tania Kross and other singers famous singers too and I used to sing in the church choir. I use to love singing in a group not solo but not to make it a career out of it like others has made it; it was not my ambition. I love to dance, but lately I am not going out so much; I love the theater and “theater sport” . I did have my own group in Holland: A-Talents.I love photography; I love watching movies and series. And I am a motivational speaker.
Btw, I will write a book before I turn 45 years old. I already know the title of this book: “Greetings from Penstraat”, that is where I was born.“

If you as Vicky, would meet a stranger in the bus (let say in Holland or the US) and they would ask you to introduce yourself what would you answer?
“Easy: I would answer…Hi. I’m Vicky. What brings you here? Where are you travelling to? I love doing lots of things, but people call me sunshine, dynamic, multi-functional, an octopus, “WOW” and connected.”

How would you describe Vicky in one word or one sentence?
“Dynamic or a sunshine, but it is not easy because I am so much more than just one word. One will never know me by just describing whom I am in just one word.“

Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?

“My Mom, my Sister Jo-Ann whom is now back in Holland for her advanced studies in Psychology. There are so many. You know I’ve seen a lot and I’ve spoken with so many inspiring people and everyone has touch me. I’ve had a lot of interesting works like working as a Social Working with Prostitutes and in a Psychiatric Clinic, close- setting. So, all my clients or patients tells their story and every story made me think. Sounds Cliché, but so it is.”

Where they always positive role models or where their also negative role models that you didn’t want to identify with?
“My way of thinking is this and how I feel is this: Everyone who crossed my path has taught me something. My friends are my friends, because I look up to them. They have supported me through hell and backed me. I have with every one of them, a different relationship. This is also true for every person that I ever met. There are some unforgettable moments. There are other less “pleasant” moments. But, my “number one”- role model is my mom. I look up to her how she took care of me (she was 28 years old when she decided to do this) and she was always by my side. She is just a great example of how a good woman should be and how an unconditional mom as a person can be. And because of her, bad models are just lessons learned.“

What are some of the challenges, lessons learned, that you have encountered in your life when you ultimately discovered your talents and strengths?
• Fighting and beating Cancer;
• Another moment was when I started doubting in myself during the time that I was for 1,5 year unemployed. I became depressed at last because of the overwhelming financial challenges I had;
• When I decided to be single, just to get to know myself better. And I can tell you that I am my best company, when I am alone. Me, myself and I. Me-time offers me the opportunity to do the things that I want to, like going to the movies when every else calls it off, I will go to the movies. I consider my freedom of choices as something very important;
• Fighting my thyroids hormone issues and accepting myself as I am. But because of all of this, I have grown to be the person I am now.

Whatever happens is life: Life will go on with or without you. You have to stand up, dust the dust off and keep going forward. When you hit the bottom, you can only go up. My logic is not yours. My quote: Despite how open, peaceful and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deep as they have met themselves (think about it).”

What was a defining moment in your life, a setback that later turned out to be a great blessing?
A defining moment was the period I was depressed. Those were 1,5 frustrating years. I bought a house in 2006 and even went to Curaçao in December 2006 to celebrate and then in February 2007 I was laid off based on the LIFO principle, Last in first out, from De Haagse Hoge School. Everywhere I applied for work I was considered overly qualified. The economic recession during those days hit its peak. The main reason I got so depressed was I was unable to oversee a solution for my financial challenges of paying my mortgage and fixed monthly payments in the end running arrears and I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel, until via a psycho therapist and a financial advisor after recognizing that I had an issue we finally were able to get back on track. During those days, the help I got from my sister and friends was so important for me to get back on track. I am eternally grateful for the help I got. My sister and a friend finally moved in my house and the worst was over by 2010. But I renewed my talents and I learned that I can stumble, get to the bottom and come up back.
I think It was a lesson to learn so it prepared me for the Cancer-period.I believe that things happen for a reason and there are no coincidences in life!”

Where do you want to be 5 to 10 years from now with your business(es)?
“Happy, in good health so to keep helping others. I already have my company and foundation. I’ve learned not to plan too much. I don’t even know If I will still here. So, I live my life happy, graceful, grateful and there are always things on my path to do.”

What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 30 years from now?
“She was good!!!! She was happy!”

What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
“I think I see Curaçao in a totally different way than others. I see possibilities every step I make. There is so much to do. I don’t want to be rich, I want health and help others to realize a lot of projects so I can help my community. If we keep on waiting for things to happened, it will never happen. Go out and change it. A small act can change the world. Stop playing the victim and do something for you Island.”

Do you want to share anything else that might be relevant for those reading this blog?

“We have to stop thinking in boxes and categorize everything and put it in a box. If you keep thinking this way, you will never think out of the box and see out the box and appreciate how beautiful it is. You will only see problems. Life is a challenge, but it is a beautiful challenge.
(I made up this quote whahahahaha)”. 

“Life is a challenge, but it is a beautiful challenge”

One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
As the core group of Share2Uplift we love and deeply respect Vicky Trinidad, whom is influencing our NGO sector as an Influencer and a very dynamic project leader of CURA DOET. We definitely consider her one of the 250 ethical leaders of our Island, that continuously works at influencing people’s mindsets in our society. We will definitely continue to hear from her in the future.

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