When Nathan was five years old, his older brother, Errick, signed up the family for Horton’s Kids. Days later, Nathan took his first trip to the library. “That’s one of my best memories – getting that library card for the first time,” Nathan said. “That was big for me and my family. We got books all the time, and we just started reading. We couldn’t really afford to buy a lot of books, but knowing that I could get these books for free, that was big.”
Recognizing Nathan’s potential and interest in academics, volunteer tutors and Horton’s Kids’ staff pushed Nathan academically. “They showed me that you can aspire to be anything you want.” When he reached high school, Nathan was accepted into the prestigious, all-male college-preparatory school, Woodberry Forest.
During Nathan’s sophomore year at Woodberry Forest, his older brother, Errick, died tragically in a shooting. “He was a good kid; he just caught up in a lot of what was going on around in the neighborhood,” Nathan said. “I knew that he sold drugs. He was the oldest boy and had little brothers and sisters and a mother. Going to school and getting a great education – it took too long. He needed to take care of his family. But he taught me better and would not allow me to go down that path. Around the time of the shooting, he was changing his life, just had a son, and was engaged.”
Two years later, Nathan graduated from high school and was accepted to Syracuse University. Horton’s Kids worked with Nathan to find him the financial support he needed to persist to graduation. During his senior year, Nathan studied in Spain and met up with Tyrec, another Horton’s Kids’ alum, in Valencia. The two young men sat down and talked about their majors and career goals. “It was a very powerful moment, knowing that despite of what each one of us has gone through, we are successful,” Nathan said. “This is the moment that I knew that the sky’s the limit.”
Nathan graduated from Syracuse University with honors in 2014. He double majored in political science and child and family policy and minored in African American studies. Today, he is part of the prestigious Teach for America program and teaches history to at-risk students in San Antonio, Texas.
“Horton’s Kids showed me that there is a life outside of Wellington Park,” Nathan said. “I had countless tutors tell me the same thing – we see so much potential in you. Ultimately, I want to come back to DC because I know what young kids go through. I know who I would be fighting for.”