Virginia Beach, Va. - It's Teacher Appreciation Week and we're shining our spotlight on a Virginia Beach early childhood education teacher who is taking action in and out of the classroom.
When we entered Nikkia Smith's classroom at Glenwood Elementary she burst out in laughter and then later she had tears.
We received an email from her close friend, Danita Hayes, who was there with us for the surprise and read a portion of that email.
"Nikkia has been helping the community for the past four a half years by feeding the homeless, providing clothing, blankets and other personal items for them as well."
It's all done through a group Nikkia started called, Hearts Full of Grace. They also provide snack bags for children at various homeless shelters. Nikkia stays busy; she has a lot on her plate. She's a full-time early childhood education teacher, and a full-time mom with four kids.
So why is it so important for her to take action in the community?
She says it helps her deal with the unexpected loss of her husband six years ago.
"It's therapy for me, and I feel I lose myself in the mission and so it allows me to take my focus off the pain that exists within myself as a result of my tragedy, and focus on helping others."
Danita goes on to say in her email, "I am extremely proud and honored to call such a caring and kind person my friend. She is very humble and modest, but I would like others to know how she has impacted her community."
This is why we presented Nikkia with a NewsChannel 3 People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.
She was very grateful and also had a few tears for being honored.
"I'm just excited, because I have never done it to be recognized," she says.