Stories of Impact
There’s an African proverb: “A child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth,” which speaks to the role that community care plays in influencing young people’s future actions. No one understands this more than the team at PureLegacee Inc (PLI), a haven of healing for young women who have experienced trauma as a result of the criminal justice system or foster care.
Naquasia Pollard, PureLegacee’s founder and executive director, is a staunch advocate and activist who has a deep, personal connection to the girls she supports. At 19, Pollard was sentenced to 18 years in a women’s correctional facility. Upon her release in 2017, she worked at the Ladies of Hope Ministries, where she put the BA in sociology she earned while incarcerated to work.
BKO’s commitment to supporting our work has been instrumental to our success working with these young ladies and helping them restore their mental health and break the generations of trauma they’ve had to life with.Naquasia Pollard, Founder and Executive Director
At PureLegacee, Pollard and her entire team are determined to help young women break the cycle of violence, abuse, and substance misuse. “God put people in my life after being incarcerated, and when I came home they helped me to walk through a door,” she shared. “I decided I wanted to use my energy to help others.” The nonprofit uses training and advocacy to create systemic change while helping young women navigate individual challenges associated with race, gender, and poverty.
Among its recent accomplishments, PureLegacee it offers an Intern Leadership Program that has supported a dozen or so young women in finding employment after graduating from the program. Since it was first founded, PureLegacee has also extended its reach beyond New York. While over 50 girls have completed its Mentorship Training Program in Brooklyn, an additional 25+ have enrolled to start the program in Detroit, Michigan.
Pollard and the entire PureLegacee team have a no-nonsense approach to their work, which is one of the reasons Pollard believes the organization’s work is so impactful. PLI often works with girls who respond to their lack of resources and support in harmful and self-damaging ways, but having.been in similar positions herself, Pollard knows how to artfully diffuse these types of situations with empathy and kindness. “Were you ever so desperate that you took something that didn’t belong to you?” she mused. “Well, now it’s your turn to understand. This girl is hurting just like you were.”
And for young women who are still learning how to navigate through the challenges of life, PureLegacee’s guidance can be critical to helping them stay on the right path.
50+ girls have participated in PureLegacee's Brooklyn programming
With Brooklyn Org’s support, PureLegacee has been able to bring to light its vision of helping even more girls see their potential as confident, intelligent women who are capable of achieving anything they put their minds to. “I am a mother of a daughter who has had to live with the reality of my incarceration,” said Pollard.
“I know firsthand how difficult it is for so many of our young girls to articulate how they’re feeling or to express their emotions. I was also that girl. BKO’s commitment to supporting our work has been instrumental to our success working with these young ladies and helping them restore their mental health and break the generations of trauma they’ve had to life with.”