COLLEAGUE YEAR: 2008
SENDING ORG: Urban Impact
REGION: Pacific Northwest
LOCATION: Seattle, WA
SERVICE AREAS: Urban America
Nikkita's Service Bio
As Director of Mekong Kids, a program of Urban Impact serving the Rainier Valley in Seattle, I partner with youth and families to uniquely equip them to lead the community with vision and hope.
How Nikkita Is Developing Leadership
"Justice, like people, has living impact" writes Nikkita Oliver ('08), who currently teaches poetry, debate and biblical leadership, and runs the chapel program at the Seattle Urban Academy (SUA). Serving for two years as a chaplain and service provider at the King County Youth Detention Center, Nikkita accompanied youth struggling in the system, and listened to their stories. "...The law should work to the benefit of the people,"writes Nikkita, "In my experience, I have not seen the law work as such." These troubling encounters have strengthened her resolve to bring legal literacy and empowerment to her south Seattle community. She has a track record of developing community youth. An active musician and spoken word artist, Nikkita facilitates community spaces for youth to give voice to their world. A member of the 2011 KF Conference planning team, also she used her artistic gifts to lead the worship service. This month, Nikkita received the exciting news that she earned a full scholarship to attend the University of Washington Law School. The KF community celebrates Nikkita as she takes the next step on her journey of service leadership.
How Nikkita Is Touching Lives
(Written December 2008). As a freshman at Seattle Pacific University, new Colleague Nikkita Oliver became a volunteer tutor at the Mekong Center in Seattle's Rainier Valley. By her senior year, while maintaining a 3.87 GPA, Nikkita had moved into the Rainier Valley neighborhood. "Aside from the roaches, limited parking and unreliable plumbing, there is... the painful reality of the day-to-day struggles of families in our community." Yet, she says, "Being in service I have learned what it means to love and be loved... I have been so blessed to live next door to four of the most beautiful little girls, two of whom participate in the Mekong Center. They know how to love. Love is when the seven year old looks at me and says, ‘Ms. Nikkita I want you to live next door forever because I need to always know where I can find you.'"
On campus, Nikkita worked as student Intercultural Director. From establishing a desk and phone in the student body office to securing a seat on administrative committees, she brought reconciliation to the forefront of campus dialogue and decisions. Now graduated, Nikkita directs Mekong Kids! and Youth Development, helping oversee after-school tutoring, day camps, high school leadership development, and the Urban Youth Leadership Academy.