When Nina Armstrong was growing up, she didn’t have a lot of opportunities to be a kid. She watched her two younger siblings and took on most of the adult home responsibilities. Feeling obligated to take care of her siblings, Nina dropped out of school. At 16, she became a mother. Life moved fast for Nina and she dedicated her entire life to raising her family. She has been married for 31 years, raised three boys and is a proud grandmother of six. On top of raising her family, she was a dedicated volunteer firefighter. Her commitment to the well being of others has been a core part of her life.
Nina completed her GED at Portland Community College in 2017. It was time to live up to what she had taught her boys when they were growing. Choosing to go back to school was hard but Nina wanted to do something for herself. She continued her education at PCC and began her journey to complete an Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education, where she was selected for the prestigious All Oregon Academic Team. In a letter written to Nina from Governor Kate Brown congratulating her, she says,
"Nina, keep sharing your story with others. I know that it is not always easy to do, but the brave will persist. By doing so, others will know that they are not unlike yourself and are in fact supported and cared for."
As a part of the program, students complete 20 hours of observation at a child development center. PCC SE YMCA Child Development Center was where she completed the requirement. The kids bonded with her on the first day. After the 20 hours were finished, Nina was asked to join their team as a student aide. “My favorite part about working with these kids is being able to get down to their level.” Her life has brought her to the YMCA to allow space for children to feel loved, appreciated and respected. “You never know what a child is going through and I get to be a calm presence for them.” She looks forward to continuing to create special memories and bonds with kids while they grow and develop.
Thank you, Nina, for your dedication and compassion towards every child that you work with. We look forward to watching you continue to shine bright. Congratulations on your success.