Social worker. Coach. Grief specialist. These are just a few ways Nyika Leggett has provided the youth of Michigan City much-needed guidance as they navigate an uncertain world.
“I’m really involved with working with children,” Leggett said. “It’s always been something I’ve been really passionate about it. I used to be those kids I work with, and I find a piece of myself in them every time I interact with them.
Born and raised in Michigan City, Leggett attended Joy Elementary School and Krueger Middle School. After graduating from Michigan City High School, she left home to attend the University of Memphis (back when it was still called Memphis State University), where she stayed to start her career. Years later, she returned to Michigan City and was hired for job as a social worker for Krueger, a surreal, but welcomed experience.
“I became a social worker to give back,” Leggett said. “I want to inspire kids and help them through hardships.”
She was also hired to be the coach for both the 7th grade girls volleyball and basketball teams at the school. Leggett explained that sports are excellent ways for kids to get involved because they teach vital things like communication skills and focus.
“Sports teach a lot of positive life skills. Sports are about being assertive and confident in yourself,” Leggett said. “But more importantly, it’s about the concept of teamwork and trusting others.”
Leggett also does volunteer work at VNA Hospice, where she helps children and families through times of grief. In fact, she is a certified grief recovery specialist. She teaches others that grief is natural and comes in all forms, and helps them work through pain and suffering when they need it the most.
“Being a part of this effort really taught me that grief is a common thread for everyone,” Leggett said. “Grief is a very human experience, but everyone experiences it differently. My job is to support them through their journey.”
“I’m a great listener, so I’m always going to listen when people need it the most.”
Leggett’s mother has been her own inspiration and influence in life. Growing up, she watched her mother have a hand in helping people in her community. Now she’s taken it upon herself to continue that mission.
“To me, life is about servitude,” Leggett said. “I got that sentiment from my mom. She’s always been a helper and being involved with helping others in the community. She has always been about giving back and working for something greater than yourself.”