MAHC BOARD MEMBER: Nikita Frederick
Although Nikita Frederick is one of MAHC’s newer board members, she has been in the housing cooperative community for years. Ms. Frederick was first introduced to housing cooperatives while living at Birch Run Cooperative in Romulus, and joined their board in 1989. She went on to serve for more than 17 years, and became a staple in their housing community. Ms. Fredericks remembers, “I ran for the board just to see what was going on, but once I joined I saw how important it was to be a knowledgeable board member.” She went on to serve as a Secretary as well as the President of the cooperative.
Ms. Frederick is serving her third term with the MAHC board, but do not let that fool you. She assists many of the younger cooperative board members in finding solutions to their housing problems. Ms. Frederick also teaches the Secretary Class along with her mentor, Cyndy Phillips at the annual MAHC Conference. She recently taught at the San Diego Annual Conference, and says “I love teaching the class and I always try to put a twist on it and make it fun. I want to make the people participate and keep them involved in the learning process.”
Her number one goal for the housing cooperative movement is to teach new board members and get younger adults involved in the movement. Ms. Frederick says “Sometimes the younger adults are confused because the housing cooperative movement is very complex, but I want to tell them just have patience, don’t be overwhelmed, they’re not going to learn everything in one sitting. Over a period of time they will learn and it is important not to let it consume them to the point where they get discouraged. Just take one issue at a time.”
Ms. Frederick says the biggest role models in her life are her parents. Her father is her first role model because he taught her many things, including how to cook, and he was always looking out for her. Her parents supported her through the hard times in her life and when she was discouraged they were always there with encouragement and sound direction.
When asked what her vision is for the housing cooperative movement, Ms. Frederick responded “The housing cooperative movement can grow through informing new members that we are not just rending. This is ‘our’ investment, and without participation and help we cannot grow.” Housing cooperatives are not about renting a low-income place to life. She believes in giving members the knowledge that they are taking ownership in their community, resulting in increased pride in the neighborhood and respect for the other members as well as the grounds. For families that are starting out that are low income, housing cooperatives give them a vision that says “I can do this” and that is the message Nikita Frederick wants to spread. “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”.