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 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 also 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. “For example, 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.”
Horton’s Kids also kept Joemese and her friends on track to high school graduation. She said: “Anyone can tell you go to school but when someone is actually trying to help you stay in school, it’s motivating.”
In addition to tutoring, Joemese participated in the older youth program and developed skills like teamwork and leadership through group activities. Her most memorable trip was rock climbing, which encouraged her to ask others for help.
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 a former executive director. Brenda, who was involved in the selection process, described Joemese: “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.”