When there are times of change, a steady presence can make all the difference. That presence at Little City can always be found in Nick.
As Little City embarks on a change of leadership, Nick marks a full-circle moment for the outgoing Shawn Jeffers, who had Nick here to welcome him when he first came 20 years ago and now here to say farewell years later.
It was Nick who first encapsulated the spirit of Little City and showed Shawn why Little City could be such a special place when he first arrived. During an early conversation together, Nick said Little City felt like him because “they laugh at what I laugh at” and that simple observation drove home the importance of community and kind of community that was being built at Little City.
“To have a place where people feel loved and connected is truly a special thing to find,” Shawn said. “It’s not about being apart from the community, like some may have you believe, it is about building community. That’s what we do here and that is what Nick has always been such an example of.”
Despite well over 20 years at Little City, Nick’s community leadership may have never been on greater display or more important than during the past three years. As Little City struggled through the pandemic on myriad fronts, Nick remained a beacon of positivity in his community.
As a longtime resident of the SLAs on Little City’s campus, Nick took it upon himself during those uncertain times to keep everyone connected when it was easy for isolation to set in. His daily routine would often consist of calls to his mother, calls to friends and even a phone call to a staff member or two to check in on them to make sure everyone was healthy and in good spirits.
His selflessness even extended to passing on a temporary apartment when his was getting renovated so someone who needed the temporary apartment more could use it.
“He’s just so very generous,” said Adelya Kammer, Nick’s case manager. “When you meet him, he is always joking and it looks like he doesn’t take anything too seriously, but it’s easy to see how much he cares about his friends and family.”
Shawn recalled a time when Nick played a crucial role in saving the independent-living homes on campus during a personal conversation with Illinois officials. Nick explained the homes were not disconnected or isolated from the greater community, but instead an important part of the greater community.
“Nick is a special guy and really cares about Little City and everyone at Little City,” Shawn said. “I’ll always remember that conversation when he told me “they laugh at what I laugh at” and I think it will always capture the essence of what makes Little City so special.”
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