A Habitat for Humanity Success Story
For the past 22 years, Nakia has worked her way up at Rainbow Rider Child Care Center from floater to overseeing teacher mentoring for the facility. Charles, her husband, has worked at Spectrum Brands for 9 years, currently as a Consumer Relations Specialist. Their oldest son, Christopher, was diagnosed with microcephaly resulting in developmental delays and is confined to a wheelchair. Their youngest, Christian, is a thriving 6th grader at Blacksburg Middle School who loves to read and play basketball. Nakia and her husband partnered with Habitat for Humanity in 2018 to buy their first home- an affordable townhouse on Church Street, in Blacksburg, that is ADA compatible to accommodate Christopher’s mobility needs.
Nakia moved to Blacksburg from Brooklyn with an aunt who was studying at Virginia Tech in 1999. When her aunt graduated and moved back to New York, Nakia decided she wanted to stay. “Blacksburg brought to me a sense of peace and serenity- it had a close-knit, family feel that I was looking for as I matured and established my own life. I got involved in the community, joined a church, and landed my dream job at Rainbow Riders working with children”.
Nakia was single at the time and found it impossible to rent an apartment without finding roommates to share expenses. After she met Charles and their family grew, the challenges to finding affordable housing were compounded. “A three-bedroom apartment in Blacksburg was costing us $1,000 per month, just for the rent. And, as the mother of a non-mobile, special needs child, it was frustrating to find that ramps, wider doorways and first floor living designs were limited and had a wait list.”
Nakia and Charles were determined to find the right housing option for them in Blacksburg, where they both work, where their children go to school, where their church is, and to be close to the services Christopher needs. In 2018, Nakia’s boss told her about the planned Church Street project in Blacksburg. “I’ll admit, I did not know much about Habitat for Humanity or its mission, but I decided to apply. And now, here I am, a homeowner in Blacksburg. We are so blessed. Words will never convey how grateful we are to everyone who made this possible- Habitat, The [Blacksburg] Presbyterian Church, BUMC, the town of Blacksburg, all the volunteers, the architect, everyone. Our lives are forever changed.”
Nakia and her family have been in their affordable forever home for almost two years now. She says her family enjoys visiting the local library, walks on the Huckleberry Trail, and shopping in downtown Blacksburg. “I love the peaceful, serene evenings in our new neighborhood. I love to watch the sunrise in the morning or to see a full rainbow in the sky. Most people would take those things for granted, but for a city girl like myself, it’s a big deal.