Nia Nelson Overcomes Homelessness to Become a Successful College Student
Imagine trying to fall asleep, but you can’t as noise from traffic disrupt your attempt to rest. You try to go back to sleep, but the sounds keep getting closer and closer, to the point that you feel a train coming full force toward you. Startled, you wake up, and realize that it was just a bad dream. You find yourself safe in your house. For Nia Nelson, the disruptive sounds of the Miami Metro Rail station were the backdrop for countless nights for her and her family. Homeless and without refugee from the streets, Nia and her family represent 44% of the homeless community Chapman Partnership serves every day in two centers located in Downtown Miami and Homestead.
Proud and resilient, even though Nia found herself without a bed, and without knowing where her next meal would come from, she never took it upon herself to reveal her homelessness. It was not until after spending her nights at a Miami metro rail station, that she came to the realization that her and her family needed help. Chapman Partnership opened their doors for them, placing them in a family dorm, safe and together. While still difficult, she now had a steadier environment to complete her school work, rather than going to fast food chains to use Wifi. She also had steady meals and knew her siblings were safe while she was at school.
Regardless of the hardships Nia had to withstand, she volunteered her time at Aventura Hospital. Not disclosing her situation with anyone, and taking three buses just to get there, Nia was determined to learn as much as she could about medicine and nursing. Serving as an escape from reality, and comforting other people in their battles, Nia found her calling to become a nurse.
Despite the challenges of being homeless and facing the uncertainties of a global pandemic, Nia succeeded in graduating iPrep Academy with a 3.9 GPA. Her perseverance earned her a full scholarship at Florida International University, as well as her own dorm on campus. Today, Nia is on the path of pursuing a nursing degree to someday help and serve others.