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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Service to Service

November marks the celebration of Veterans Day, a time to recognize the efforts of exemplary citizens who served our country. This month, we would like to highlight the remarkable efforts of two veterans who reside in our local community and who embody the true meaning of the expression "service to service."

    Nikita Richards grew up in Chicago, IL where she excelled in academics. According to Nikita, she used education as a way to escape. Thriving to rise above is what drove her desire to learn and challenge herself. Even in her youth, Nikita organized efforts to help those in need and led by example amongst her peers, which earned her many accolades locally and nationally.
    After graduating high school, Nikita made the brave decision of enlisting in the United States Navy. After her honorable service in the Navy, she was accepted into the Political Science program at Illinois State University and completed a Bachelor of Science in Politics & Government. She then continued her education at the university's School of Communications, receiving a Master of Arts degree in Public Relations.
    As a public relations professional with eight years of experience in the corporate, agency, and nonprofit sectors, Nikita currently owns and operates NDR Communications. Much of her expertise involves community relations, relationship building, civic/political engagement, social media and network management, mediation, political and organizational communication, key message design, image restoration, and brand building. She also works for the City of Bloomington as a Human Resources Employment Coordinator where she works to recruit qualified employees while maintaining community relations.
    A McLean County resident for 15 years, Nikita has served on numerous boards and commissions: from overseeing and assisting the Police and Fire Commission, being appointed to the Bloomington Cultural Commission, advocating for diversity, to standing up for our neighbors with disabilities. She's served on the Human Service Council, volunteered for numerous local non-profits, advocated for social justice, social economic justice, and families at risk of DCFS involvement, and worked tirelessly to keep families together and connect residents with resources needed for stability. Nikita has also worked as a Crisis Interventionist and Substance Abuse Prevention Educator within our Unit 5 School District for youth and families through Project Oz. The community recognized her dedication and commitment to service by nominating her as a McLean County Woman of Distinction.
    CoTinna Harris grew up the oldest of six children in a small town in Mississippi. Being from a single-parent home, she took the helm of leadership at an early age and developed not only a love for family, but for community at large. To help support her mother and younger brothers while in high school, she worked at the family's hometown restaurant as well as for a local community counseling center providing food and services to those in need. As a youth, she worked tirelessly serving others and developed a love for teamwork and camaraderie.
    During her junior year, she made the decision that would change the course of her life forever. Faced with significant challenges and limited resources, she took the military entrance exam. Driven to make a greater impact as well as become the first female in her family to serve in the military, she didn’t allow anything to dull her determination to make a difference. By senior year, she enlisted in the U.S. Army and received orders to commence her first tour of active duty in Germany. She would go on to not only serve a tour of active duty in the U.S. Army, but also in the Air Force Guard & Reserves, completing over 10 years of honorable service at overseas and stateside duty locations.
    CoTinna's unwavering commitment to public service continues. She has been a youth director for local and district churches spanning several states for over 10 years. She has been instrumental in helping students navigate the college application process, training them on how to secure resources to assist with college. She has also been an active supporter and aids in planning the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards program which is hosted annually by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal in recognition of the outstanding community service of the youth and adults in the community.
    Additionally, she is the Human Resources Manager at Green Top Grocery, Bloomington-Normal's community owned co-op grocery store providing local meat and fresh produce from farmers within the surrounding area.
    She holds both B.S. and MBA degrees and serves on several boards and commissions.
    Thank you to Nikita and CoTinna for being great community leaders and examples of service-to-service.

    New Expressions Photography, Videography & Web Design is located at 211 Landmark Dr., Building B Suite E, Normal. For more information or specials, call 309-533-4801 or visit newexpressions.biz.



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