Creating Childhood Victories
Everyone has a story! My story is tragic on one hand but amazing on the other. I was sexually abused by a family friend when I was eight years old. During that time I had to deal with an alcoholic father who told me time and time again that children should be seen and not heard. In 1999, my mom died at the age of fifty-nine, and, in 2001 I lost my sister because of domestic violence.
I DECIDED to CREATE out of my pain and help others do the same. I design programs that empower children to create that confident voice, value that voice, and share that voice with the world.
Victor is a creator and designer of programs and products that focus on PBIS, Social Emotional Learning, Character Counts, and specializing in Erin’s Law Programs.
STAT: More than 28 million Americans are children of alcoholics; nearly 11 million are under the age of 18.
I will never forget the many times that I was awakened in the middle of the night to the screaming, the hitting, and the glass shattering all around. I was eight years old when I saw my father transform from “my dad” to a monster. I was scared and curious simultaneously. My sister found me many times at the top of the stairs looking down as a nightmare was unfolding in front of me. This is how I spent many of my nights. It’s amazing that I was able to go to school the next day!
The effects of child abuse are long lasting. I was eight years old when I was sexually abused by a family friend. I was told not to say anything because my parents would be very upset with me. So, I stored this painful moment in the back of my mind for over ten years. It was my secret. I went through most of my school years questioning my sexuality and confused by the whole experience. I was so ashamed of what happened that I was unable to talk about the abuse until I turned eighteen. That’s when the healing began.
Even though domestic violence played a prominent role during my adolescence, nothing compares to what happened on September 3, 2001. I received a phone call from a policeman telling me that my sister and her husband had been involved in a shooting. My sister Reneé was shot four times by her husband. He committed suicide soon thereafter. She died three weeks later. The pain, confusion, anger, and sadness took over my life. Once again, I was confused about what happened. How could this happen to my sister and her two beautiful children?
STAT: Every nine seconds in America, a woman is beaten or killed by her husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. It is a rampant disease that is most often, kept hidden and untreated. Domestic Violence, like Cancer, is no respecter of persons. It affects all social levels of the American population.
As I was asking all these questions I began to find answers. Instead of letting these events in my life tear me down, I used them as fuel to build myself up. I began to find out what confidence building could do for my life and realized that there are children that need help with their confidence building as well. Especially if they have been abused.
STAT: Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, although boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside of the family. A study in three states found 96% of reported rape survivors under age 12 knew the attacker. Four percent of the offenders were strangers, 20 percent were fathers, 16 percent were relatives and 50% were acquaintances or friends (Advocates for Youth, 1995).
The Victim to Victor Decision©
I believe wisdom is in the question and not the answer. If you don’t ask the right question you don’t get the right answer. I asked WHY many many times. Why was my father an alcoholic? Why did he hit my mom? Why did that person abuse me? Why did my sister die?
These questions can lead to the answers that could help one cope. However, I refuse to simply cope. I want to heal and overcome, because that’s how I can be of service to people. I call this the Overcome The Skateboard Principle!™ While visiting a school, I asked a boy “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He said,”I want to be a professional skateboarder.” I then asked him “Do you ever fall off your skateboard?” “All the time,” he said with a smile. I proceeded, “Do you just lay there and wait for someone to come get you?” He said, “No, Victor. I get up, dust myself off and get back on the skateboard.” I told him that’s the secret to life. We will all fall, but it’s what we do when fall that’s the key. You can live your life in a negative manner, consistently pointing blame, or you can take full responsibility for everything in your life. While you can’t change what happened in the past, you can can control how to live life.
My father became a recovering alcoholic and I forgave him and loved him unconditionally until his death in 2010.
I’ve decided to look at my abuse like this…I say, “He abused my body but I refuse to let him abuse my life, period!”
Finally, I’m not sure why my sister was shot four times, but I can tell you that if Reneé had lived through this tragedy she would have dedicated her life to helping victims of domestic violence. Since 2001, my team and I have raised over $350,000 for women in need.
This is my spark of hope. Thank you for visiting. I am grateful.
My programs are available to anyone that is looking for a beacon of hope. I offer programs in child abuse awareness so that educators, parents and friends can all help to prevent child abuse, by identifying the signs of it.
I also offer programs in sexual assault awareness, as well as confidence building. Be sure to check out the programs today.
Creator of the Be Seen and Heard© Program
Childhood Victories, Inc
Victor has been featured in many newspapers. Read how Victor has inspired his audiences from all over The United States.
NORTHWEST INDIANA TIMES
PORTAGE | Children at Kyle Elementary School were motivated Tuesday morning as they listened to speaker, author and “innertainer” Victor Pacini.He gave a presentation on core values: respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion and fairness.Pacini used music to get his message across. He sang, “You have the power, imagine if you try.” He told the kids they need to have these core values at home and at school and to be mindful of others.
“I am no better than any of you,” he told the students who were in kindergarten through second grade. “I can learn from you and you from me.” Students and teachers clapped and sang as Pacini told stories through song. He told the children that it’s easy to be honest when parents and grownups are around, but they have to be the same when with friends. “You need to get to the core of it and it all lives in your heart,” Pacini said. “Take off those blinders and see if someone around you needs help.” Jaira Vega, a second-grader, participated in a role-playing game during the presentation. “I learned about being respectful, honest and compassionate and that it’s the right thing to show other people and they will show you it back,” she said.
Pacini will give two presentations at each Portage elementary school this week, emphasizing the newly adopted core values of the schools. He will be at Portage High School East from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday along with poet and author Bill Buczinsky. They will perform a one-hour show for Family Night.
Pacini’s visits were funded through grants from the Porter County Substance Abuse Prevention Council and the Porter-Starke Services Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant fund.
The Hayner Public Library District of Alton, IL has inspired the community to participate in their new youth recognition program, Mission Recognition. This program will recognize the youth of the area for outstanding service to an individual, organization or the community. They have asked Victor to become their spokesperson for this project. He has brought the messages of kindness and respect to the schools and organizations of Alton. Please visit their website to learn more about Mission Recognition.
Singer/speaker motivates students
By KATIE OKON
“I believe in myself, there’s nothing I can’t do. Follow my dreams, I’ll make them come true!”
Arms waving in the air, students shouted out these lyrics to “My Dreams,” an original song by Victor Pacini, while sitting wide-eyed with awe and delight in Longfellow Elementary School’s gym on Oct. 17.
As part of the District 21 school’s cultural arts program, singer and motivational speaker Pacini came to the school as the artist in residence last week to encourage students who are “dreaming big.”
After two assemblies in the morning, Pacini met with each classroom and had the students draw their dreams on paper. The next day, five students from each classroom stood before the entire school and spoke about their dreams in life while their drawings were projected on a big screen.
Pacini, 35, was raised in Mount Prospect and graduated from Prospect High School in 1990. Currently residing in Algonquin with his wife and child, Pacini has been singing publicly for 27 years and speaking professionally to children and adults for eight years.
Overcoming his own obstacles in life — surviving childhood sexual abuse and the murder of his sister — inspired Pacini to teach others to do the same.
“I am no better than any one of you,” Pacini tells the students. “I am here today to learn just as much from you as you can learn from me.”
Angie Lawrence, the school’s assembly coordinator, found Pacini while attending a showcase in Skokie.
“I thought he was different, better than some juggler, and I think the kids are very excited and inspired today,” she said.
The energy level Pacini brought with him filled every student and teacher as they clapped, snapped, stomped their feet, whistled and sang along to each song played. The students cheered each other on as they raised their hands excitedly and shouted out their dreams: football player, art teacher, professional black belt in tae kwon do, astronaut, bus driver, bowler and ventriloquist.
Kindergarten and art teacher Barb List felt the program “reinforces values and builds self-esteem, all part of a theme that the kids carry through life.”
After the program, Pacini stood at the door and high-fived students as they left — Pacini’s smile as bright as theirs.
“I grew up in a loving family, but no one ever really said, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ to me,” Pacini said.
“When I look into the audience, I see me, at 8 or 9 years old.
“When I can make that connection with one child, those are what I call the magic moments.”
Victor Pacini, self-employed musician and entertainer with Neysake Communications in Algonquin, IL
Musicians work in a variety of areas. They play musical instruments, sing, write songs, lead choirs, bands and orchestras and teach others to develop their musical talents. Whether they’re playing in front of live audiences, recording songs for television productions or writing music for others to perform, musicians share one trait: a love of music.
Musicians specialize in one or more areas. Instrumental musicians play a musical instrument in an orchestra, band or group. Singers sing in front of a live audience or in a recording studio. Conductors and directors lead instrumental or singing groups. Composers write original music. And music instructors teach other people how to play an instrument or sing.
Musicians work in many environments. Some perform live in concert halls or nightclubs and spend a great deal of time traveling. Others record their music in professional studios or work in the solitude of their own offices and studios.
For many musicians, every day is different. They spend considerable time practicing and performing. Self-employed and part-time musicians may spend significant time marketing and selling themselves, keeping track of finances, coordinating gigs and writing songs.
Math, accounting, public relations, sales, writing and information gathering are crucial skills. Few musicians hold 9-to-5 jobs. Those who perform must often do so at night and on weekends, and sometimes spend a lot of time traveling from one performance venue to the next. Composers and teachers tend to work more regular hours, but still devote extra time meeting project deadlines or preparing for upcoming performances.
Professional musicians who perform live in concert halls and nightclubs must be in good physical condition. They burn off energy on stage and need stamina to cope with frequent travel and night performances.
Here is an interview with Victor Pacini, self-employed musician and entertainer with Neysake Communications in Algonquin.
Q: What led you to a career in the entertainment industry?
A: At the age of eight, I had an opportunity to try out for a band that was doing a tribute to Elvis and I made it. I traveled with them out of state on the weekends for four years. After that, I started entertaining on my own. Entertaining was something that I was passionate about ever since I was a child.
After high school, I studied art at Harper College and transferred to Columbia College in Chicago, earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. After college I worked in graphic design and it wasn’t until I had a job at Pleasant Ridge School in Glenview that I combined the graphic design with my passion for entertaining. I knew whatever career I decided on, it was going to be a long time. One day I asked the principal of the school if I could put on a show for the kids and it went really well. There was a boy named Matt and he asked me if I could sing a song. We sang Johnny Be Good together. It was one of the turning points in my life and an unbelievable feeling when the boy sang with me and the kids gave him a standing ovation and he put his arms up in the air like he had won.
After the event a teacher came up to me and asked why I wasn’t doing that full time. I said “doing what?’ She said, “entertaining.” So after that I created a show that could really make a difference in the lives of students.
I combined the graphic design with my love for singing into a show that could inspire kids to believe in and respect themselves and follow their dreams and teach them that they can accomplish anything.
Q: What do you find most en-joyable about your work in the entertainment industry?
A: The most enjoyable aspect is to make a difference in the life of a child and to inspire them to believe in and feel good about themselves.
Q: What do you think is the most important quality for someone considering a career in entertainment?
A: The entertainment industry is challenging, therefore perseverance is the most important quality when you’re searching for jobs and meeting new people. You must also have the love and passion for entertaining.
Q: How has technology changed your career?
A: Technology has changed my career because I am able to project images and words on the screen. When I talk about “respect” I can reinforce the meaning by creating a graphic on the screen. Technology has allowed me to communicate on a higher level. I use a laptop and project through PowerPoint and other software programs.
Q: What advice would be helpful for someone going into a career in entertainment?
A: When you decide entertaining is what you want to do, you can’t give up. Keep moving forward and don’t take anything personally.
Making dreams real
by Matthew Bonaccorso
Victor Pacini’s new book, “My Dreams,” provides children with inspirational messages, helping them grow and gain confidence, teaching them to follow their dreams, and letting them know how special they are.
Standing in the gymnasium of Juliette Low Elementary School, Pacini displays the excitement and joy of a child on Christmas morning as he prepares one of his many interactive motivational presentations, ‘The Artist Within,” for the children. With his conversational style and amazing ability to connect with any audience, Pacini captivates not only the young children of this school, but the faculty and staff members as well. “Victor targets the importance of building character and feeling good about oneself. He continues to stress the importance of doing what one is expected to do, not doing it because he or she was asked to. He teaches children to make the right choices, even when no one is watching,” says Cindy Brummitt, principal of Juliette Low Elementary School.
Whether his audience consists of school children or corporate professionals, Pacini reaches out and establishes a connection with whomever he is speaking to. His program, “The Artist Within,” enables people to develop themselves and give of themselves to the world. The thoughts and ideas conveyed in his programs further enhance the message set forth by “My Dreams.”
“My Dreams” reinforces the belief that all children are unique and special, and that if they believe in themselves, they can achieve anything. “(‘My Dreams’) further expands my work with children. I wanted to give the children something they could have to take home with them. It is a book for everyone, but it is geared from 2nd through 5th grade,” Pacini said. The self-published children’s book is based on a song Pacini wrote six years ago, also titled “My Dreams,” and the words of the book are the actual song lyrics. “My Dreams” is unique in that all of the illustrations were done by children and that Pacini included his “My Dreams” CD with the book. “The children drew pictures based on how they interpreted the lyrics they chose. These pictures became the illustrations of ‘My Dreams,’” Pacini says.
“Growing up, I don’t remember people saying – What do you want to be? It was more like, you studied and then entered a career. But what about having a dream?” Pacini says. “This was the basic idea of the book, to tell kids that they could be anything as long as they believe in themselves and never give up.”
Victor is the youngest of five children of Lawrence and Marianne Pacini. “We were a very close-knit Italian family. I was born in Chicago, and grew up in Mount Prospect,” he recalls. “As a child, my father was very supportive and very proud of me. My mother was the glue that held our family together. She was a huge inspiration to me.”
Victor has been a performer since he was 8 years old. He began his performing career as “Master Vic,” donning a jumpsuit in an Elvis Presley tribute band. He attended Columbia College and received his degree in graphic design.
From college Pacini began working in his field, but soon realized thad it wasn’t where his passion was. “I couldn’t see myself sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life designing, so I took some time off and became an aide in a school in Glenview,” Pacini says. It was at that point that Pacini knew what he was meant to be. While an aide, Pacini put on a show for the children, singing Elvis and oldies songs. It was met with a tremendous ovation. “I knew that this is where I was supposed to be,” Pacini says.
To book Victor Pacini at your school, office or other events, call 888-667-2370 or visit his Web site at www.victorpacini.com.
Mt. Prospect native returns to put on show
By Erin Holmes Daily Herald Staff Writer
Even as a Lions Park Elementary School student in the early 1980s, Victor Pacini was an entertainer, having begun at age 8 with his impersonations of Elvis Presley.
He returned to his home turf of Mount Prospect Elementary District 57 on Thursday – his first time back in two decades – to deliver a special performance for kids at Fairview Elementary School.
Since his days as a young artist, Pacini has attended Lincoln Junior High and Prospect High School, both in Mount Prospect, and Columbia College in Chicago.
His act has evolved over time – he delivers inspirational “Follow Your Dream” acts now, rather than just songs from The King.
And that new routine fits perfectly with the Character Counts initiative started this year in District 57 schools. Pacini’s upbeat song-and-dance performances, encouraging kids to follow their dreams, align with the thought behind Character Counts, said Jeff Golob, a teacher who had Pacini in class at Lions Park School.
Character Counts stresses trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Pacini for several years has traveled around Chicago to deliver motivational programs at schools.
His appearance at Fairview was coordinated by Golob, himself a 35-year veteran educator, in honor of retiring teachers Joan Brueggemann and Eileen Skora.
As a special treat, Pacini showed the Fairview the old Elvis pantsuits he used years ago.
Singer inspires kids to follow their dreams
-Mary K. Williams
When Victor Pacini was 8 years old, he had what might sound like a dream job: performing as an Elvis impersonator in local night clubs. Now he’s trying to help other children reach for their dreams, whatever they might be. Pacini, 29, has put together a high-energy, interactive show featuring original songs designed to inspire kids to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. Clad in t-shirt and jeans, he took the stage (actually the gym floor) at Schaumburg’s Nathan Hale Elementary School one morning in early November, performing first for the younger kids (grades K through 3) and then for the older ones (grades 4 through 6). As he sang, he bounded around the room, asking kids about their dreams. He got young volunteers to walk around displaying posters of his personal heroes: Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. He divided the room in two and led the kids in a dueling chant. (“My dreams are my dreams … and no one can take them … away. .. from me!”) By the end of the 40minute show, he had even the most jaded-looking 6thgraders on their feet, swaying and clapping along. The kids got the message, too. “He made me think of my dreams and how if I accomplish them I can make a difference,” says Caitlin, a 5th-grader whose dreams include being a soccer player, actor and children’s author. “No one gets left out,” adds classmate, Vishal. “He makes you feel good.” Assistant Principal Joyce Drenth watched both shows. “He was very engaging and he really connected with the kids,” she says. After the show, many of the kids were so pumped up that the teachers improvised with related classroom activities, such as having kids draw pictures about their dreams or make “I [heart] Me” t-shirts. “I don’t remember anyone ever asking me what my dreams were,” says Pacini, who grew up in Mount Prospect and now lives in Buffalo Grove. His goal, he says, is to help kids learn to love themselves. In addition to his “Your Dreams Are Your Dreams” show, Pacini has two others, one called “Overcoming Obstacles,” geared toward junior high students, and another called “The Artist Within,” focusing on caring and respect. For more information, call Pacini at 888-667-2370 or visit www.victorpacini. com.
Speaker: Turn obstacles into opportunities
The Quincy PTA Council worked two years to bring motivational speaker
Victor Pacini to Quincy. By Phil Weber Herald-VVhig Staff Writer
As a child, Victor Pacini was abused by a family friend at his home in Chicago. Now, as an adult, he uses that and other experiences to show children how they can overcome obstacles
in their lives.
Pacini spent much of the past week talking to Quincy students about how they can be positive people and make good life choices. He presented a pair of programs – “Your Dreams” for children in kindergarten through sixth grade and “Overcoming Obstacles” for students in grades 7-9.
He said the abuse could have been a catalyst for negativity and turned him into a bitter person. Instead, he used the experience to help him grow as a person. “For me to move on and take control of my life I had to forgive him,” he said of the abuse. “Hopefully my experiences will teach kids to never give up despite whatever obstacles they may encounter.”
Pacini connected with his audience by using original songs, humor, audience participation skits and a little dancing.
His visit was brought about by the Quincy PTA Council. Council President Jill Butterfield said the group saw him two years ago at the Illinois PTA convention and knew that his message would be good for Quincy’s children to hear. “We loved him and we worked for two years to get him here. His schedule is packed,” Butterfield said.
For more information about Pacini, visit
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Performer’s songs teach kids importance of self-confidence
By Jennifer Tempest STAFF WRITER
He earned a degree in graphic design, but his passion led him to perform. On a dreary Friday morning, Victor Pacini sang to a group of students, helping them believe in their dreams. A future Olympic figure skater, a go-cart racer and a rocket scientist were among the Wasco Elementary School students sitting in the audience Sept. 28.
Pacini, who has been performing since he was 8 years old, wrote all the songs he performs.
“I used to do a little Elvis,” he said, laughing. “I used to dress up in a jump suit and travel with this band. It was pretty hilarious.”
His career as a performer began four years ago when, as a teacher aide in Glenview, Pacini asked if he could put a show together for the students. The success his first performance motivated Pacini to pursue a career as a performer. By night, he is a night club performer. By day, his attention is geared toward children.
“My main focus is to help kids realize they have potential and that it’s within them,” Pacini said. ‘They can do whatever they want to do.”
Throughout his 40-minute show, Pacini sang about dreams, heroes and even three angels he identified as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Mother Teresa.
“Even though they’re not here anymore, they are still very important,” Pacini said. ‘These three people never gave up. Things sometimes don’t come so easily, but you have to work for them.”
Using examples from Gandhi and King’s actions, Pacini explained to students how problems cannot be solved through fighting.
“Getting into a fight really solves no problems at all,” Pacini said. “What’s the point of getting a black eye or broken tooth?”
After Pacini sang his closing song, “My Dreams,” and students began to file out of the cafeteria and back into their classrooms, it was obvious his points had made an impression on his audience.
At the end of every performance, Pacini said, he always feels energized.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I feel like if I could have made one child come up to me and say they had felt they learned something, that’s all that matters to me.”
For the students at Wasco Elementary School, Pacini’s trip indeed was worthwhile.
“It was fun,” fifth-grader Caroline Basciani said. “I learned that you should always believe in yourself.” Standing near Basciani, fifthgrader Nick Patridge had similar thoughts.
“He taught us about respect,” Patridge said. “To believe in yourself and never give up.”