“As a child, I was a bit of a loner. I preferred to keep to myself and spend my time reading books. It wasn’t until high school that my classmates and friends finally convinced me to visit Horton’s Kids and give it a shot.”

Although she joined Horton’s Kids’ programs a bit later than many other participants, EJ remembers quickly forming meaningful connections with the staff and volunteers and getting excited about everything the organization has to offer. From homework help to field trips to events like Home Runs and Give Thanks & Give Back, EJ made the most of her time at programs and had so many positive experiences.

Finding her way to Horton’s Kids in high school ended up being perfect timing for EJ. She formed a great relationship with her mentor, Ms. Anne, which lasts to this day. Through older youth programs, she was able to secure summer jobs and internships that allowed her to develop important skills and gain work experience. And now, as a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, EJ remains a part of Horton’s Kids’ alumni program and in close contact with the organization.

“For kids in my neighborhood, it’s not always easy to listen to the instincts that tell you to dream big and reach for the stars. But Horton’s Kids helped me trust those instincts. They helped me envision a brighter future for myself and then go for that future… I’m so glad I listened to those instincts.”