Jewels of the Virgin Isles is a feature series profiling Virgin Islanders in the diaspora who are excelling in their respective fields and/or positively representing the USVI abroad. This month the St. Croix Source features Nicole Roebuck Warner, Chief Program Officer for one of the largest AIDS service organizations in the U.S.
For many Virgin Islanders who grew up prior to the new millennium, there was a shared sense of connectedness and pride that instilled a confidence in their abilities to conquer the world. This is true for Nicole Roebuck Warner, who even today, displays her Virgin Islands pride in a way that positively impacts the next generation.
By day, she is the Chief Program Officer for AID Atlanta Inc., one of the largest AIDS service organizations in the Southeast United States. In this role, Roebuck Warner has oversight for all of the regional programs, as well as staffing, spending, sustainable revenue and Medicaid/Medicare funding.
In her personal time, she is the founder and owner of The Virgin Islands All Star Majorettes, an Atlanta-based organization that promotes Virgin Islands culture on the mainland during Caribbean carnival festivities and other events, and helps to instill a deeper connection for the next generation of Virgin Islands offspring to their parents’ heritage.
Some might say that Roebuck Warner is passing on the torch of Virgin Islands pride left to her by her parents, the late Sen. Elmo D. Roebuck Sr. and the late Providencia “Provie” Roebuck. However, Roebuck Warner, who finds great inspiration and strength in her faith in God, sees it as her calling to serve and a way to have a positive influence on the youth in her life.
“My earthly father was a great inspiration to me. He was a great leader and always taught me that it is important to stand up for what you believe. His love for the people of the Virgin Islands also inspired me,” she says.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised on St. Thomas, Roebuck Warner is reflective on the role that her parents, teachers and other adults played in her upbringing. “My mother and father were my heroes. Though not perfect, they instilled a strong work ethic in me, a love for people, and that a great leader must know when to follow; but I also had many people in the community who were also involved with making sure I succeeded.”
[. . .] Today Roebuck Warner uses her experience to lead and manage others in the area of AIDS awareness and support and to provide training and consulting for the Southeast AIDS Training Education Center where she provides federal training on HIV case management throughout the state of Georgia.
[. . .] Though she does not reside in the territory, Roebuck Warner believes she must give back to the community to promote a sense of pride and culture in the V.I. children who live stateside. Having benefitted from youth activities such as ballet, Girl Scouts and membership in both Sebastian’s Majorettes and Stunts & Twirlers Majorettes, Roebuck Warner, who resides in the Atlanta metropolitan area with her husband and three children, says she wanted to create a similar opportunity for her daughter to have a cultural connection to the Virgin Islands.
She recognized that many “second-generation” Virgin Islanders had never been to the home of their parents and saw an opportunity to open the hearts and minds of the offspring of her peers. Roebuck Warner says her work with the majorettes has enabled her to remain entrenched in the Virgin Islands community and culture, while helping to develop young girls into confident individuals.