Nick says he doesn’t remember much about his childhood but knew that it wasn’t the typical childhood of riding bikes and ice cream cones. He and his brothers lived in constant transition, moving from state to state and household to household.
The years that Nick clearly remembers are when he started going to Foss High School as a freshman. Nick describes not being engaged in school and not having the support system at home needed to succeed in school. In fact, Nick lived with his grandma and said that "my mom was in prison and I don’t even know who my dad is". His grandma, who has been the one family member who supports him, had to work three jobs to maintain the household.
When Nick was 15, he moved back in with his mother who had been recently released from jail. He said that his mother was deeply depressed and couldn’t provide for him and his brothers. Nick became a "fill-in mom" by cleaning and feeding his brothers.
Financial support was also an issue for Nick and, as the eldest, he turned to selling drugs just to put food on the table and help out with the bills.
Nick started to get into more serious trouble. When he was 19, he spent a period of time in and out of jail. Nick describes his time incarcerated as an evaluation of his life. He met a Muslim man who challenged Nick to be great, telling him about the potential he had to be a leader. Nick explains that he had never thought that he could amount to anything good, much less great. He says that his time in jail has shown him that he wants to "use the energy he used for bad and turn it around".
Nick came to the REACH fall internship program. His job was at Habitat for Humanity in their warehouse, which he said he enjoyed because "it exposed me to new things."
At the end of the program, Nick enrolled into TCH’s youth program. He describes that moment as step one to becoming who he wanted to be. He valued the youth program which helped him immensely by teaching him employment skills and goal setting.
He said that the conversations between himself and his youth coach encouraged him to establish goals and gave him confidence to accomplish them. He remembers making a list, first starting off with a challenging test to pass, then a class and finally getting his high school diploma.
Nick graduated with his high school diploma in June from Clover Park. He describes his graduation day as the best of his life. He especially gives thanks to his grandma who encouraged and supported him through everything.
Nick describes his life as a painting. His painting included going to 20 funerals for his friends who were killed. Now, Nick says that he wants to repaint that picture. He wants to continue working on his goals which include finishing his internship at Meridian Center Electric this summer and taking the steps to become an electrician. Nick wants to give back. He sees a lack of housing programs in the community and hopes to be able to donate his resources in the future. Nick is honored to be a part of Tacoma Community House, and as he continues his journey, he thanks TCH for helping him to "repaint his picture."