Coordinator, Manasseh Project at Wedgwood Christian Services
Executive director and board president, New Destiny Pathways
Nikeidra Battle-DeBarge has spent her nearly 19-year career working to end the sexual exploitation of young people in West Michigan.
She leads Wedgwood’s Manasseh Project, which was one of the first programs in West Michigan that helped address the issue of sex trafficking, according to Battle DeBarge’s nominator. She travels all over the region to educate community members, parents and young people on the issue of human trafficking and helps people gain skills to prevent them from being pulled into it.
Wedgwood’s Manasseh Project recently partnered with the SEE Human Trafficking Coalition and Kent Intermediate School District to secure a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Trafficking in Persons that will provide resources to the community to help end human trafficking.
Battle-DeBarge also founded the nonprofit New Destiny Pathways in 2012 after seeing the needs of young women in West Michigan who are transitioning out of foster care and residential services. Through New Destiny Pathways, Battle-DeBarge works to offer clean, safe, supportive and affordable housing to women ages 17-21, with the goal of helping them develop practical life skills so they can become independent.
New Destiny Pathways recently received the 2021 Organizational Leadership Award from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s ATHENA Awards program.
“Nikeidra has dedicated her life and her heart to serve the underserved within our community, and she continues to be an advocate for those who may not have a voice,” her nominator said.
In 2021, Battle-DeBarge published a memoir, “Cake without Icing,” that details her journey to overcoming barriers.