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Nikeland Nichols Named RamKids Program Director; Summer Session Focused on ‘Passion & Purpose’

The University of Mobile has named Nikeland Nichols program director of RamKids, a federally funded program to prepare at-risk high school students to succeed in college.

More than 80 students in grades 9-12 will participate this fall in the RamKids program, which provides mentoring, leadership training and educational support to low-income minority students from single parent homes in Mobile County.

Currently, 50 high school students and 10 University of Mobile college student mentors are involved in the RamKids summer session, where the theme is “Passion and Purpose.” Students have assisted The Light of the Village camp in Prichard, Ala., as guest camp leaders, helped with tornado relief in Pratt City and visited the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham.

RamKids visited The King Center in Atlanta and were special guests at the historic Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., where SCLC National President Howard W. Creecy Jr., a Mobile native from the Roger Williams housing complex, gave them a private tour of personal memorabilia from Dr. King. They also met Cleo Orange, a civil rights activist and wife of the late Rev. Dr. James Orange, also a civil rights activist hired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and jailed in 1965, which sparked and was the catalyst for the fatal protest that ultimately led to the famed Selma-to-Montgomery march, called "Bloody Sunday," and the Voting Rights Act.

“Our ultimate goal is for these young men and women to know they don’t have to be products of their environment, that success lies within them. We are developing young people to be change agents in their environment by helping them in areas of leadership, culture, passion and purpose,” Nichols said.

This is the fourth year for the RamKids program, which includes after-school tutoring and mentoring by University of Mobile students.

Nichols served as lead facilitator and trainer with Young Leaders of America since 2008, providing service and mentoring to more than 1,500 students in the Mobile County Public School System and Strickland Youth Center.

He is student pastor at Destiny Vision Christian Center in Mobile since 2000, and was a case manager for Minority Behavioral Health Group in Akron, Ohio, for several years, providing school-based therapy to serve at-risk students. He has additional experience in accounting and holds a bachelor of science in accounting with a minor in music from Alabama A&M University.

Nichols has written and arranged for artists such as Grammy nominated artist Kyle Bynoe and Praise, Grammy award-winning producer Kevin Dean, The University of Akron's Gospel Choir, Will Smith presents True Worship, and Louise Greenup.

He has performed at The Cleveland House of Blues, One Church Tour, The Bobby Jones Show, The Urban Impact Summit, Trinity Broadcasting Network and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gospel Extravaganza. He has blended his musical talents with his skills as a community leader to serve as site entertainment coordinator for The Festival of Hope in Mobile which provided compassionate services to more than 10,000 people and The Restoring Hope Project, which assisted families affected by the 2010 Gulf Coast Oil Crisis.

For more information about RamKids at the University of Mobile, call 251.442.2286 or visit the University of Mobile website at www.umobile.edu.

Nikeland Nichols, RamKids Program Director at
University of Mobile

RamKids at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Atlanta with
SCLC President Dr. Howard Creecy Jr.

RamKids volunteering with tornado cleanup at Antioch Baptist Church in Pratt
City, AL

RamKids visit the U.S.S. Alabama at Battleship Park in Mobile, AL

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