15 Feb New Hope’s Black Leaders: Nicole Powell
As we celebrate Black History Month at New Hope of Indiana, it’s important to us to highlight a few of our amazing black leaders.
by Nicole Powell, RN, NHI Clinical Nurse Coordinator
I was born and raised here – a native Hoosier! My father was born here and is a direct descendant of the Potawatomi Indian tribe and African American and my mother was born in Itabena, Mississippi. Both of her parents were African American. My mom grew up on a farm that was given to my Grandfather where his father was once a slave. I have 5 siblings including 4 sisters, of which I’m the youngest girl, and 1 younger brother.
To me black History Month is a time for reflection and appreciation. I grew up in a different time than my own children did. I was the product of integration of schools and experienced it first hand. I went to an ISP kindergarten and first grade. By the time I started second grade everyone in my neighborhood was bussed to a township school. I wondered what was wrong with the perfectly good school right down the street that I could walk to. But this was happening and I had no say! At first we were all afraid and it was different and at times difficult but eventually we all got along! I made some lifetime friends there and appreciate that experience now. But the black history that was taught then was minimal.
That was my history. I went to a school that originally wasn’t meant for me and was taught a curriculum that wasn’t representing me. So I made it a point to educate myself and anyone who wants to listen to me on the achievements of African Americans in our history.
I believe that being black has taught me to be confident and proud. I learned to treat people the way I want to be treated and to embrace all people because we are all one race of people – human – just some of us are a little lighter or darker than others.
When I first came to New Hope I learned so much about equality and inclusion; it was amazing! People here are so warm and friendly and the advocacy for our individuals to experience an amazing quality of life made me realize this was the job for me. Everyone is special and treated with respect. I enjoy seeing the different cultures and respect how New Hope embraces the differences of all people.
I guess that sums up why I love my job. I came to New Hope as a young girl and the only job I felt I was qualified to do at that time was DSP because I helped take care of my sister who is mentally disabled. But I learned a lot from that experience. While I was a DSP I learned to cook, I learned how to clean and take care of a home, and I learned that I wanted to become a nurse. I love New Hope because where else can you go to work and get hugs and it’s ok!