How we came to be...
In 2016, Juliane Williams and her 21-year-old daughter, Doniqueca Whitanae Chenaine Cooke, or Niiqua for short, were an unbeatable mother-daughter duo in college together. However, on June 30, six days after Juliane passed the National League of Nursing examination that would allow her to begin the bachelor's program, a reckless driver accident cut Niiqua’s life tragically short. Today, Niiqua’s memory lives on in Corona, Queens, in the form of the Niiqua Bee FAITH Foundation. Juliane started her organization on faith, in memory of Niiqua, who was always as busy as a bee. She believes that both the mission and the Foundation’s name are God’s will. "I don't even know what I'm venturing into," Juliane said. Much later, among Niiqua’s things, she found Niiqua's last card to her, saying, "Continue to keep the faith, and you'll always hold the title of World's Number One Mom."
Niiqua’s kindness for instance, Niiqua would tell frequent stories about homeless people needing her help on the subway. Niiqua had also been a member of the Police Athletic League, SEEK program participant at Queens and York College, praise dance leader at Cardozo High School, and volunteer at various camps, ( Fresh Air Fund) Churches, in the community (The Daily News). Earlier Years played tennis member of the USTA and New York City Junior Tennis League Queens Borough Champion. "Her last cent, she would give it back," per her mom Juliane.
When Niiqua died, her friends, their parents, and fellow group members rallied around Juliane, who learned even more about her daughter’s generosity. Together, they have been organizing and participating in community initiatives like picnics, vigils, dinners, clothing donations, walks, and much more. They also partner with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Furthermore, wheelchair and medical device donations collected by the Foundation were even sent all the way to Africa. Their story has been featured on Conroy Allison’s Winner’s Circle Radio on 93.5 FM and The Voices of Worship on 93.5 FM among others, and Juliane credits Allison among those who encouraged her to start the Foundation, which is currently awaiting its official legal status.
Through the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Niiqua posthumously received an award that Juliane and her friends accepted in her honor. In March, Juliane also received the Phenomenal Women of Courage Award from the Necelina McDonald Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Currently, Juliane volunteers for a local food pantry, delivering to hundreds of people in East Elmhurst, Queens. Every Sunday, Juliane cooks for a local church, and on Mondays, she packs groceries. She also teaches ESL on a volunteer basis in LeFrak City and volunteers with a local COVID testing truck, utilizing her skills as a Magna Kum Laude nursing student. In 2018, Niiqua Bee Faith Foundation supporters made Mother’s Day fruit baskets and delivered them to mothers who had lost children. For Father’s Day that same year, they offered homemade meals cooked by Juliane’s mother, focusing on fathers of children with disabilities.
Last year, Juliane partnered with the community for their annual prom drive. The Niiqua Bee Faith Foundation also hosted its first Thanksgiving dinner in LeFrak City, with food donations from Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, Miller's Alehouse, Longhorn Steakhouse, Silver Spoon Restaurant, Applebee’s, Pretzel Mania, Popeyes Restaurant, and The Rock Church, among others. Additional highlights include the Foundation’s annual poinsettia drive and annual December birthday dinner commemorating Niiqua at Henrica's Restaurant in Rosedale, Queens.
People’s individual stories and situations are very important to Juliane, who is also an advocate for the homeless. For instance, before breakfast, she brings food to one particular man in the mornings. He told her how he loves coffee, so she’s brought that, too. Also, before COVID-19 led New York City to shut down its subways nightly, she used to bring food regularly to a lady at her local train station. "I always try to see myself and look in situations as if, suppose it was me. What would I want?" - Juliane Williams