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Wraparound Youth Partner | TRI-COUNTY

 

Nikobi was born in Oakland, California and raised in the foothills of East San Jose. Nikobi's immediate family has a rich history of interracial adoption; they are the oldest of five siblings - two of whom are adopted. In her formative years, Nikobi attended two high schools in San Jose. At the first school, Nikobi was one of very few African American students. Nikobi experienced the anxieties of internalized racism, classism, and feelings of isolation. At the second school, Nikobi began to see the ways inadequate public education failed students in poor neighborhoods. She became determined to beat the system and attend college. However, Nikobi had trouble finding the motivation to go to class and felt that she received different treatment, or was expected to fail because of her ethnic background.

After graduating high school, Nikobi worked full time and attended community college. They were accepted to the University of California, Santa Barbara but decided to withdraw their admission after their older sister completed suicide. To be closer to her sister's energy following her death, Nikobi moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where they had made the majority of their memories. Navigating a new state and living on her own proved to be challenging. In that time, Nikobi experienced a series of traumatic events that eventually led her to return to California. During this time, Nikobi also had difficulty navigating their gender and LGBT identity. Their first LGBT relationship had just ended due to housing insecurity and having witnessed their partner struggle with addiction and overdose. When they returned, Nikobi had to learn how to function with PTSD.

Nikobi had a tough time adjusting to a non-chaotic world when she finally returned to college. She felt as if her life was just a continuous battle for survival. Nikobi found that her Sociology and Feminist Studies classes helped her understand and speak about her experiences in a way that allowed her to feel heard. Nikobi became involved with activist groups that advocated for marginalized groups - more specifically POC, LGBT, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Nikobi graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Feminist Studies with a concentration in Science, Technology, and Medicine. As a student at UCSC, Nikobi focused on putting academia and social action in conversation with one another through intentional research projects and student outreach work. They interned for the LGBTQIA+ Peer Education Program, hosted by the Cantu Queer Center, and helped create programs, workshops, presentations, and training on LGBTQIA+ topics and issues. As an intern for the African American Resource and Cultural Center, Nikobi worked to provide an educational brave space for students to engage with different cultures, experiences, backgrounds, and intersecting identities. They also worked diligently on African American student retention as a facilitator for Race and Ethnic Diversity and co-lead of the African American Mentorship Program. Nikobi credits academia with helping her understand the history behind many of her childhood experiences while providing a platform for her to create change for future generations.

After graduating, Nikobi worked in crisis intervention and was able to utilize her life experiences and academic background to serve youth going through similar traumas. Nikobi found Youth Era after reading a 2017 article by The Huffington Post titled, "The Youth ERA Has Arrived, and Advocacy Will Never Be the Same." YE's promotional video inspired her, and after exploring the website, she believed she would be a good fit for the Wraparound Youth Partner position. She appreciates Youth Era's dedication to positively utilizing life experiences.

In her free time, Nikobi enjoys reading, writing, good coffee, and surfing. She enjoys road trips down the coast and singing classic rock anthems (loudly) in her car.