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Becoming Who I Am

Updated: Apr 14

By Jennifer Nicks, Director of Operations, Hope Horizon East Palo Alto

Born in July of 1993, I was raised in East Palo Alto, and spent a couple of years in Virginia for my dad’s military assignment. Being a west coast baby and spending some pivotal years on the east coast allowed me to create and build an open-minded perspective on some of the cultures we have in our country. Living in East Palo Alto allowed me to be part of an incredible culture that I have used to connect with others all over the country. My growth and development are important to me, and I pride myself on constantly building myself to be who I want to be. One of the places that made a huge impact in helping me become who I am today is BCM/Hope Horizon.

As a child, BCM was my second home. Not

only did most of my family work there or attend as students, but many memorable and impactful relationships were curated with the staff, tutors, and summer interns. I participated in every program I was eligible for. My fondest memories are probably from the summer of 2005. The staff and summer interns made my summer unforgettable, and I still laugh from the memories. The spiritual programs I attended constantly challenged my thought process and beliefs and I grew stronger spiritually because of it. I appreciated being taught our faith-based lessons and given the opportunity to make the decision to grow at my own pace.

While attending Eastside College Prep for high school, I had less time to spend at BCM and had to commit my focus to other areas that affected my life. After high school, I attended Prairie View A&M for three semesters until my dad unexpectedly passed away. Shortly after, I came home and began working at a tech start-up where I realized my interest and love for

engineering. I ended up moving back to Virginia and attending Virginia State University to study computer and electrical engineering. After a few semesters, I had my daughter and returned home to take care of family obligations. Unfortunately, a year after my return my grandfather passed away, but I find solace in knowing that my daughter and I were able to spend his last year with him.

After getting on my feet and trying to figure out how to find a career that would be spiritually and emotionally fulfilling, I attended BCM’s fundraising banquet in 2018. There, Rolando invited me to apply for the Operations Manager position that had recently been made open. In January of 2019, I made my way back to my second home as a staff member. Four years and a pandemic later, I am happy to have accepted the position of Director of Operations for Hope Horizon. My daughter is an avid participant in the Hope Horizon programs. My family continues to be involved with Hope Horizon in various capacities and I continue to grow into the person I am meant to be.

Every situation we find ourselves in leaves an impact, no matter how small or how great. Many times, we do not even realize an impact is being made. I have been beyond blessed to take advantage of the situations and opportunities I’ve come across to grow, especially at Hope Horizon East Palo Alto.

Jenn's daughter shared about Hope Horizon EPA in our recent video

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