From House Fire to Hope: An Update from a Clasped Hands Grant Recipient

On May 9, 2015, Nikki Hussey Stephens’ life changed forever. A house fire destroyed everything she owned and even claimed the life of her sweet dog, Ellie. Nothing was salvageable – not even her car – which was also destroyed by the blaze. Nikki, former chapter president of Epsilon Kappa – Troy University, in her second year of law school, was devastated. She turned to her friends, family, and sisters for support. Sorority sister, Amanda Calhoun, filled out a portion of the Clasped Hands Emergency Grant Application and encouraged Nikki to submit the rest, knowing this was a resource to help her get back on her feet. Nikki was awarded the Clasped Hands Fund Emergency Grant.

“After the fire, I contemplated withdrawing from law school and pursuing something else.  Law school is hard enough when you really want it, so I imagined it would be extremely tough if I wasn’t willing to give it my all, and I just didn’t think at the time I had anything else to give.  However, through the support of my community, friends, family, and sisters, and even people I didn’t/don’t know, I remained in school for my 3L year and graduated last May with not only my J.D., but also an LL.M. (Legal Master’s).  Two of my sisters came to graduation and it was such an amazing day shared with those closest to me, and such a huge realization of a dream come true and the ability to overcome (even major) obstacles with supportive people around you.”

Nikki persevered and began putting the pieces of her life back together. She sat for the Alabama bar in July, passed in September, and already had a job lined up with a small firm, which would later hire her as an associate attorney. Last month, Nikki started a new position as an Assistant District Attorney for the 22nd Judicial Circuit in Covington County, Alabama.

“I got married in October and celebrated with many of my Epsilon Kappa sisters by my side.  I was recently elected to serve as the president of the Troy Alpha Delta Pi Alumnae Association and have connected and re-connected with other sisters through that.  I continue to be amazed at the caliber of women I am privileged to call ‘sister’ and can only hope I have the opportunity to be a blessing to as many of them as they have been to me.  These women have seen me through my highest highs and lowest lows and their friendship is unwavering.  I can’t imagine having not had them through it all.”

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Nikki and her Epsilon Kappa sisters at her wedding on October 29, 2016

To support sisters like Nikki, please consider making your gift to our annual Violets for My Sisters campaign. Your gift of $5 per violet supports the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation’s Clasped Hands Fund, which provides emergency grants to alumnae in financial distress. Each honoree will receive an acknowledgement card with a violet appliqué reminding her that “We Live for Each Other.” Orders can be placed HERE.

If you or a sister you know would benefit from the Clasped Hands Emergency Grant, you can find additional information HERE. Thank you Nikki, for sharing your story and reminding us, Alpha Delta Pi is not just for four years it’s for life.

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