As former president of her high school’s National Honor Society, Nicole was heavily involved in her home community of Gobles.
When she came to CMU, she immediately made Mount Pleasant her new home, getting involved in volunteer work right from the get go.
A friend introduced her to the Alternative Breaks program her freshman year. Her dedication to the community took off from there.
Since arriving, she’s been a tutor for America Counts and Reads, a mentor with Lunch Buddies, coached with Girls on the Run and assisted in blood drives. She spends about 20 hours per week volunteering and tutoring, most of that dedicated to helping the community youth through America Counts and Reads, a one-on-one tutoring program.
“I never know where the kids that I work with come from. I have no idea if the lunch they eat at school is their only meal for the day or if a week at camp is the only time they get a chance to go out and play,” Nicole said. “I feel it is my social and moral responsibility to be there for them.”
And she sees firsthand the impact the program is having.
“I see my students getting better at reading and learning to love math. On a deeper level, I am showing them an adult cares about them, their education and their future. There is so much power in that,” she said. “In turn, they start to embody that in their own learning.”
She’s also seen what the children have done for her.
“These kids have changed my life,” she said. “They have made me a more confident leader.”
That’s why she does what she does, because of the impact it has. It’s also why she’ll continue to do so after graduation.
“I believe change happens one person, one moment, at a time.”
Nicole will be joining the AmeriCorps’ City Year program in Boston after graduation.
She is a building supervisor and on the event staff for University Recreation.
She is a self-trained distance runner, putting in 20-30 miles each week.