Feeling Joyous, Blessed and Very Grateful

Mother: Nicole
Children: daughter McKenzie (10), son Chrishan (5
Date Serviced: 7/3/2020
Size of Home: 2 bedroom, 1 bath with a 3-season porch
Design requests: Favorite color is blue; abstract art, elephants in remembrance of deceased dad, birds in remembrance of deceased mom
Pounds of furniture diverted from landfill:1,113

Homeless after losing her apartment in 2015, Nicole (Nikki) Harwell sought food and shelter at DuPagePads. From there, Nicky was accepted into The Well of Mercy, a community for single mothers and their children. The Well offers a 5-year living program designed to help moms move forward from past trauma and develop skills for a successful future. Nikki left Well of Mercy in early 2020 to care for her brother, who was recovering from COVID-19. Seeking a quiet neighborhood in close proximity to her family, Nikki, and her two children ages 10 and 5, found a home in Joliet. She commuted to her management job at Shoreline Cruises in downtown Chicago until the mandatory shelter-in-place was issued. We were so thrilled to furnish our 11thfamily and welcome Nikki and her kiddos home!

We spoke with Nikki four months after furnishing her space.

Q:  Can you tell us something, that you will always remember, about the moment you stepped inside your home?
A:  I had an idea in my head of what it might be like. As I was walking up the stairs, I saw the elephant print that reminded me of my dad, and I became so overwhelmed, so emotional. I felt like I couldn’t move. 

Q: What meant the most to you?
A: It’s all the little things Digs did that meant the most. I feel joyous, blessed and very grateful.

Q: How are McKenzie and Chrishan doing?
A:  McKenzie is doing well with her 4th grade remote learning. Chrishan doesn’t like remote kindergarten. He has too much energy and wants to be with his friends.  

Q: What is your favorite room of the house?
A: I love the living room, and the three-season room. Unfortunately, I have had to turn the three-season room into a classroom. The kids LOVE my bed!

Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am no longer at Shoreline due to layoffs. I still commute to the city and now work as a Lead Generation Specialist for a remodeling company. I work with clients through the whole remodeling process. I am graduating from DePaul in a couple of weeks with a BA in Public Relations. I just decided to continue my education, and will begin my masters in Public Relations at DePaul in January.