Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Sept 2012 - Day 25: Grafitti

Photo-a-Day - Sept 2012 - Day 25: Graffiti...
of various types.  The outside-bottom two are what I'd call true grafitti found on a local newspaper dispenser.  The bottom-middle and middle-right are examples of "tagging".  The left-middle and top aren't graffiti in the true sense, but I loved them.  I thought, at first, the building at the end of a culdasac in an industrial area next to train tracks was a school.  But the word "Nika:  A Place to be Safe and Happy" and the photos of children made me curious.

The building is part of Alameda Family Services (AFS) DreamCatcher Runaway/Homeless Youth Services Division.  Rather than a school, the building is homeless shelter for kids. And Nika...

"Nika Dawkins St. Claire died at the age of 62 in an automobile accident in Flagstaff, Arizona, on July 21st,2012. She ...was a passionate and tireless Program Director of the Homeless Youth Services Shelter under the auspices of Alameda Family Services. She oversaw "The Dream Catcher Safe Place Alternative for Homeless Youth and Sexually Exploited Minor Females." Ever the advocate of youth facing enormous challenges, Nika felt this campaign's building for youth was critical and she believed its completion was finally within sight."

Our simple group sent me out looking for the graffiti I see everywhere without really looking at it.  I am astonished that it led me to a place that is a reminder of the harshness of life.  But it also introduced me to a woman who believed in making a difference.  The dream of her building has been realized.  Clearly, she also touched the lives of many troubled, lost children. 

I didn't know you, or even about you, Nika Dawkins, but may your work be carried on and may you rest in peace.  You have touched my life as well.


  1. It reminds us all to pay attention to our world around us. Beautiful.