Supervisor Keith Carson Honors Niculia Williams of Berkeley Youth Alternatives in Celebration of Black History Month

Oakland, CA, March 04, 2012 --( A champion of youth was honored in celebration of Black History Month during an Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Supervisor Keith Carson presented a resolution recognizing youth development leader Niculia “Nikki” Williams for her contributions to the community.

“Nikki is one of the true ‘sheroes’ of this community,” Supervisor Carson said as he presented the resolution to Ms. Williams, who is Executive Director of Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA) in Berkeley, CA.

Niculia “Nikki” Williams was born in a small Midwestern town into a large family. Although they grew up poor, her mother encouraged her to get a quality education. When Nikki was in her early teens, a graduate student became her mentor and took her to visit her first college campus. Inspired to see people who looked like her attending college, she became determined to earn a college degree.

Before she could achieve that college dream, she got married and started a family. It took her more than 25 years to complete her Junior College degree, graduate from UC Berkeley, and go on to graduate school. She enrolled at UC Berkeley at the tender age of 42.

Nikki Williams is currently “semi-retired” from her position as Executive Director of BYA. She has a well-earned reputation of tirelessly working to improve the educational status, health, and economic well-being of children, youth, and young adults of color in South and West Berkeley and throughout Alameda County. The organization serves approximately 1200 youth every year. Nikki continues to lead the organization of 26 staff and 25 youth interns. Under her leadership, BYA’s annual operating budget has increased from $189,000 to $2.1 Million.

At the February 28 Board of Supervisors Meeting, BYA was awarded a $200,000 Youth and Family Opportunity Hub contract to provide wrap-around support services to improve attendance and graduation rates among 8th and 9th graders in Berkeley.

Nikki Williams is committed to serving community members of all ages. The BYA Girls Twilite Basketball Program was the first of its kind; 22 girls have earned college Division 1 scholarships in this program and many of them were the first in their families to attend college. Nikki is also the creator of “Soul-Line Dancing” for mature adults in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. The program attracts 25-30 seniors on a regular basis.

Nikki Williams volunteers on the Board of Trustees of Berkeley Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and is currently engaged in helping to renovate the church so that it can provide more ministry space for children and seniors.

Berkeley Youth Alternatives
Kevin Williams, JD, MPH
510-845-9010 ext 205