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Nicolya Keeps Positive Outlook

April 11, 2011

By W. James Edminson

The sun breaks through the evergreen pines. Bird songs fill the air. The winter coldness is blown away by a spring breeze. Seventeen-year-old Nicolya sits drawing pictures in her sketch pad. The setting is peaceful.

Today, Nicolya’s life is a long way from the up and down life she lived as a child. Nicolya’s mother was sixteen when she was born and the teen mom struggled to take care of her daughter. When Nicolya was eight, she was placed in Department of Social Services’ custody. For the next seven years, she lived, along with her younger brother, in foster homes.

“At first, it wasn’t difficult,” Nicolya admits. “I did what I was supposed to do – homework, my brother and I played outside, we watched television. We didn’t want to be devilish.”

But she also recalls just how hard it was to leave her mom. She wanted to live with her mom and could not understand why they had to be separated.

“I remember being heart-broken,” Nicolya says. “But over time, it got easier. As I got older, I was grateful that there was someone there to care for me and my brother.”

Things changed as Nicolya became a young teen. The foster family’s expectations became unreasonable to her. Conflict transpired. The more they disagreed, the more Nicolya distanced herself.

“I would disobey,” she confesses. “I would curse and be angry. I snuck out a couple of times.”

It became too much for her foster parents. Nicolya moved to a group home. From there, she came into Baptist Children’s Homes’ care. She came to live at Kennedy Home in Kinston. Nicolya finally found a place she could call home.

Nicolya is in the transitional living program and lives in Williams Cottage. The service not only provides a home to older teens, but it helps prepare them for the future. Transitional living residents learn many of the skills needed to live an adult life.

“I want be ready to live in the real world,” she says. “I need to know how to get a job, budget the living I earn, and maintain my own household.”

Nicolya believes that Kennedy Home not only provides a place for her to live, but also creates opportunity for her future.

“I can see my future,” she says. “I can see where I want to go and who I want to become.”

Nicolya believes that God placed her at Kennedy Home for a reason. She spends time in prayer and Bible study daily. She looks forward to Wednesday afternoon services on campus and attending Kinston’s Neuse Baptist Church on Sunday. She often encourages the other children to “take the high road” and sees herself as a role model.

“I cannot think of a better reason to be at Kennedy Home than to grow spiritually, mentally and physically,” Nicolya says.

Nicolya graduates from high school soon.

She is looking for a part-time job and is studying to get her driver’s licence. She looks forward to attending the local community college in the fall and dreams of a career in social work. Nicolya is positive about her life at Kennedy Home.

“I’m always smiling,” she says. “It’s just something I do. I don’t want people to see me down or see that something isn’t right. I smile because I’m happy.”