The scholars are described as “resilient community college students determined to reach their goals and lift up their communities.”
Johnson is certainly resilient. Nikita grew up in poverty in Cleveland, dropped out of school in eighth grade, and became a mom at 15. But this May, at the age of 30, she will become the first person in her family to earn a college degree, and she will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work following that achievement.
Below is her autobiographical poem that she wrote in conjunction with the DREAM scholar award.
“I am from poem”
I am from late-night cries that carry the pain of hunger.
From dirty shoes to nappy heads, and clothes counted up to a few.
I am from early morning wake-ups, from eviction sheriff’s banging on the doors, to the cold
touch of metal beds and wool covers from shelters housing the poor.
I am from the sound of gunshots, ambulance, and police sirens racing the streets. Lullabies
to my ears, as there’s no such thing as peaceful sleep.
I am from run-down public housing, embraced by poverty, but neglected by society.
I am from fried chicken, finger-licking, black-eyed peas, greens and tomato mixing,
homemade mac and cheese, embraced by an African culture home to cornbread.
I am from R&B, like Angie Stone “ no more rain in this cloud”, to ole Skool music like Al
Green’s “let’s get it on” while grown folks danced in the living room to their late-night blues.
I am from the carried shame of not being able to do elementary school math,
an eighth-grade dropout, fifteen-year-old mother, unstable living, constant fight-or-flight, head
down from physical, sexual, and mental abuse.
I am from the word resilience, developed in Laura’s Home Shelter that brought me closer to
I am from a place where my darkest moments became my brightest.
A transformation that carried me to 2017, the year I received my G.E.D.
I will be the first of four or more generations to receive the dream of an Associate’s degree./
I am from a Sociology class at Lorain County Community College, where I first spoke up about
the devastations of poverty.
My professor Aimee Dickinson gave me my first opportunity in a professional setting to tell my
story at LCCC’s Equity for Students team meeting.
I was inspired by the staff from diverse cultures, and backgrounds fighting for all students to
reach their best.
I am from a college that strives for its students to be more than their struggles.
A college that supports diversity, commitment, foundations, perseverance, creativity, ethnicity,
equity, and inclusion.
with something as small as a text, but as strong as a hug.
a college that inspires hope that influence changes.
I am from a History of powerful women like Harriet Tubman and Jane Addams that set the
foundation for Civil Rights.
I am A future social worker that carries the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King.
A future social worker with a Master’s degree from Youngstown State University that fights