A Work of Art

I wanted to share with you the wonderful experience I encountered attending the First Thursday Art Walk at Studio F on April 4, 2013. Our resident photographer, Michelle Taul, displayed various pictures from Diva Duty. It was a great way to connect with several patrons and discuss the needs of the many displaced women in our community.

michelle_nikkiAfter a while, I encountered a young couple that caught my eye. As they looked around, I found myself walking towards them to engage in a conversation. If anyone knows me they know I will strike up a conversation with anyone :0)

I started tallking to the young man and was silenced when he began to speak. In a weird way he reminded me alot of “Sam.” If you read my last blog, you remember me talking about my aquaintence who lives in a park near my house. What reminded me of Sam in this young man was the freedom in his eyes, the wonder in his voice. The excitement of the whole world being in front of him.

As I continued with our conversation, I thought back to when I was 23 and experiencing life in all its glory , “straight no chaser,” I found myself giving him the advice I wished someone would have given me when I was his age. He looked at me with such intensity that I knew he was getting what I was telling him.

It’s funny about life. Sam, me  and this young man. In life, we all love to feel the wind blowing …the free feeling it gives us, the way it seems to move everything and everyone around us. I told him to enjoy the wind but not to get lost in it, keep one toe on the ground to ensure not getting carried away in its swift current called life. I told him, ” I remember flying through the wind and letting it take me to all corners of life.” I told him that when you get older, and wiser, you can still enjoy the wind, like a flower planted in good soil. You can feel the wind blow through your hair, feel it on your face but not loose yourself in it.

As I thought more about this young man, I thought about Sam.  Sam is teaching me more about myself everyday…more about life. Always embrace lessons, no matter who the teacher we all have more to learn than what we know.

— Nikki

Local High School Students Donate 1,200 Items to Homeless Women

When Mount Rainer High School teacher, Kari Robins, heard about a local non-profit group, Dignity for Divas, she told her students. Robins was surprised the next day when her students told her that they wanted to have a “Diva Drive,” where they – with the support of other grades – would gather daily toiletry items to be given to homeless women. They established a Facebook page, put together a presentation about Dignity for Divas and went class to class presenting it, and spoke to families and community members. A month later, the students had gathered more than 1,200 personal hygiene items to fill Diva Survival kits – exceeding their goal of 500 items.

“I saw a piece about Dignity for Divas on the news and immediately thought it was a great idea,” says Robins. “I think it’s important to teach my kids about giving back and, when they suggested doing this, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to do something, instead of just talk about something.”

When the students gathered 200 items, Robins reached out to Dignity for Divas Founder, Nikki Gane. “We were thrilled to hear that the students wanted to get involved,” said Gane. “And when they said they had 1,200 items, I was blown away.”

ImageNinth grader, Jasmine Flores was excited to help. “Although I have done volunteer work in the past, I felt that Dignity for Divas drive was far more personal and diverse. We, as students, have planned this whole drive out; taking time from our own schedules to make the lives of homeless women in Seattle better. I have enjoyed the opportunity to help these women. I love the way that we’ve used our time to creatively spread the word and get donations from students, staff, and even people outside of the school.”

To support donation efforts, Nikki Gane spoke at Mt. Rainer High School on March 19, addressing the students about giving back, opening your heart, and not judging the homeless people they walk past on the street.

After speaking to the students, this is what Nikki wrote:

Words cannot express the gratitude that I feel. I am so overwhelmed with all of the support from the students and Staff at Mt Rainier High School. I am so happy to know that there are still great teachers out there that care about their students and their community. When I received the news that Mt Rainier was doing a Diva Drive I was so thankful. When I arrived at the school, I was completely taken by surprise by the tables full of donations they collected.

What an awesome group of Students!!  It was such a blessing to share with you my story and tell them a bit about my life. I am forever grateful for the time and energy the Staff, Students and the Student Advisory put towards generated such a successful drive.  

Yours Truly,
Nikki Gane