Who is Nyima Porter?
Nyima Porter, MSW, grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Columbus, Ohio. Nyima comes from generational poverty and has more than 20 years of experience working with underserved youth and underrepresented populations. Her philosophy is grounded in empowering the poor and educating the privileged around culturally sensitive issues. Nyima is the founder of Concrete Dreamers and consults with youth service providers in the areas of curriculum development, program development, capacity building, and special projects. She also has experience designing and managing various mentoring programs: college peer-to-peer, adult-to-adult, and adult-to-youth. Nyima is a trained mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership technical assistance provider, Elements of Effective Practice trainer, National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS) provider, Bridges Out of Poverty trainer, Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World facilitator, and poverty simulation facilitator.
- Master of Social Work, The University of Georgia
- Certificate of Nonprofit Management, The University of Georgia
- Bachelor of Science, Social Work, Minor in Parks and Recreation, California University of Pennsylvania
Nyima’s work history
- Concrete Dreamers, Founder
- Technical Assistance Provider, The Mentoring Partnership/MENTOR National
- Student Equity Specialist, Columbus Academy
- Career Exploration Specialist, Erie City Public Schools
- Assistant Director of Educational Equity and Diversity, Penn State Behrend
Nyima’s aha! moment
My aha! moment came during a poverty simulation where I was the father of a low-income household with a teenage daughter and wife. My daughter brought home drugs and money one week during the simulation. I remember feeling angry that she had gotten involved with drugs, but I also felt thankful because the money was needed to pay the mortgage. In that moment, I decided never to judge a younger person or family’s choices in securing financial resources to survive. Our concrete reality often overshadows our abstract future dreams.
My passion is youth empowerment! I believe in teaching youth what we as adults learned too late. There are concrete barriers and systems in place that young people should know about before they enter adulthood and must “figure it out.” We do youth a disservice by waiting until they are adults to educate them about payday loans, credit, hidden rules of class, and more. Assisting students and educators with gaining knowledge of life/survival skills helps them have a better understanding of how to interact with others.
What does Nyima do for fun?
I enjoy spending time with my daughter and watching her enjoy childhood activities. I love to see kids laughing and having fun together. I also enjoy traveling to new places and reading autobiographies about young revolutionary leaders. Young dreamers of the past help shape our interpretation of current issues and future choices.