Origins: Niya Fallace

By Alicia Reeve

Niya Fallace, a fourth year senior studying educational ministry and psychology, was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. Because of that she had a lot of helpers, one of which was with her for six years. When Fallace was looking at colleges, Grace was at the top of the list that her helper recommended. Fallace went on a couple tours, loved it, and sent in an application. Two days later, her application was accepted, and a year later, she started her freshman year at Grace.

When she first came to campus, Fallace intended to become a bible teacher, but when she attended the first education meeting, she quickly found that that was not going to be her course of study. When she  was looking for a minor, she realized that her goal was to become a sort of spiritual leader, which meant being ready to field complex questions. Psychology was another set of tools to help answer them. Recently, she became more aware of her “autism identity,” and found a calling to be an autism therapist.

However, she did not wait for her degree to start serving. On campus, Fallace has “done the occasional SERVE event, now and again,” as her class schedule permits, including the Supermarket Sweep. She also currently attends Mission Point and has been involved in several facets of the church. She has taught the two-year-old Sunday school class at Mission Point, and has helped put together care baskets for adoptive and foster families. She also helped hand out flyers for Supermarket Sweep, which Mission Point also sponsors.

She has also volunteered in the community for several practicums. She had a 75-hour practicum with the Beaman Home, a shelter for domestic violence victims. Fallace served in the basic needs center, which provides women who have left a home and need basic groceries and furnishings. The center is supported by donations, grants, and a weekly garage sale, which Fallace helped to organized. She also volunteered for 40 hours at the Heartline Pregnancy Center, sorting donations, including the baby supplies from Supermarket sweep.

After graduation, she does have two prospective jobs lined up as an autism therapist. “I would be willing to start the day after graduation,” Fallace said, but she would prefer to spend some time with her family in Ecuador before she starts. Her roots go far in Ecuador; her grandmother was a U.N. ambassador who “fell in love with a New Yorker.” Her father traveled there a lot during his childhood, but Niya spent six weeks there over the past four years. The trip would serve as a chance to reconnect with her past before diving into her future career.