Not everyone gets the opportunity for a second chance at life, so Nyene Baker isn’t taking his for granted.

The Trenton, NJ, native’s previous path of being in the system began when he was arrested at age 10 and found himself on probation in the sixth grade. By high school, he started to sell drugs and get involved in other illegal activity. Baker’s behavior at the time resulted in his parents sending him to Liberia. However, when he returned to the U.S., he found himself back in a life of crime.

On Dec. 20, 2010, Baker was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for drug conspiracy charges. At the time of his sentencing, he says that his vision to change his life and others came right then and there.

“Sentencing day was one of the best days of my life because I was relieved,” Baker told AfroTech. “I was like, ‘You know what, I got 15 years to get my act together, to work on my flaws and become a greater man.’ And I was like ‘I’m really going to come out and help change a lot of lives and try to stop people from going down the path that I went.'”

After his early release from prison, Baker went on to found his nonprofit, Visionary Philanthropy Group. His mission is to help at-risk youth and underserved communities avoid the pitfalls that he experienced and “achieve their self-sufficiency and stability.”

A part of Baker’s efforts with his nonprofit is partnering with Richard Achee’s breakbeatcode, a free educational initiative that teaches middle- and high-school students how to code through beat making and music production. Visionary Philanthropy Group creates partnerships with schools and organizations to onboard youth for the training. Since Baker didn’t have a chance to learn about STEM during his own schooling as an adolescent, he’s elated that he gets to support the next generation exploring the field.

“[Breakbeatcode] grasps and sparks attention from the kids compared to the conventional way of coding,” he said. “In underserved communities, them learning coding can possibly be a little challenging because it’s not something prevalent that a lot of them are used to.”

Baker continued, “However, with learning coding through music, it gives them a better chance to understand the coding. And it really allows them the opportunity to really master the coding more easily.”

While running his nonprofit, Baker shared that he’s also working check to check at Amazon. However, he’s certain that his current career situation is on the brink of transforming to a full-time job with his nonprofit. What’s more, he’s thankful for the people in his life who have helped him receive a second chance in fulfilling his dreams.

“I just wanna be able to be an inspiration to the underserved communities, especially, and the world that your past doesn’t define your future,” Baker shared.

“I had a million doors closed on me. However, there’s a lot of great people that see my talent and my passion to change lives, and I really appreciate everyone that’s just giving me the opportunity and a second chance,” he added.

Baker hopes to work with a number of tech companies to further give underrepresented communities access to STEM programs and opportunities.

To stay updated with Visionary Philanthropy Group, you can follow the nonprofit on Facebook and Instagram.