When Joemese began attending Horton’s Kids in middle school, she had a few doubts at first. Laughing, she remembers her initial reaction: “Who wants to do school after school? I was not into it at all. But then, I looked at what everyone else [in the neighborhood] was doing – is that what I wanted to do? I wanted to do something different and better.”

After she started high school at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a high-performing charter school, Joemese began looking forward to one-on-one tutoring sessions for help with challenging homework, especially geometry. “It was good to be with someone who knew how to do it,” Joemese said. “One of the tutors showed me a shortcut to an answer, and it became easier. Every time I took a test, I would remember the shortcut.”

In addition to tutoring, Joemese participated in Horton’s Kids older youth development programs that fostered key non-academic skills, such as perseverance and leadership, through activities, like rock climbing and group presentations.

Joemese credits Horton’s Kids with keeping her and her friends on track for high school graduation: “Anyone can tell you, ‘Go to school,’ but when someone is actually trying to help you stay in school, it’s motivating.” Today, Joemese is a junior at Towson University and hopes to pursue a career in family counseling.

Horton’s Kids recently named Joemese the second recipient of the Brenda Chamberlain Scholarship, created in honor of the former executive director. Brenda said: “I love her commitment to self-improvement. She values being a role model and giving back to the community.”

“It really feels good and so exciting; a really proud feeling,” said Joemese, who will use the funds for school housing. “My goal is to graduate and attend graduate school. Showing my younger sisters that I can do better by going after my dream is what I stand for.”