From being a CalSAC Advocacy Ambassador to a returning CA Afterschool & Summer Challenge attendee, Nathan (Nate) Houston is a passionate advocate for the importance of afterschool programs. This passion stems from the fact that afterschool has had a profound impact on his life, from being a safe haven growing up to a workplace of 15 years today. Individuals like Nate are real life examples of why afterschool is so essential and why it’s vital that we continue to advocate for these programs.
We had the privilege of interviewing Nate on two separate occasions. You can find both interviews below:
How did afterschool benefit you growing up?
I don’t think I can put into words properly how much I benefited from expanded learning. Aftershool literally saved my life. After school, I was exposed to homelessness, gangs, prostitution, drugs etc., but having a safe space like an afterschool program to go to prevented me from doing a lot of negative things I could have done. My afterschool program was literally my safe haven between the hours of 2-6pm. Afterschool programs gave me opportunities that my parents weren’t able to provide due to a lack of knowledge, education and finances. Afterschool programs is where I learned the value of education, character, and healthy relationships.
How has afterschool shaped who you are today?
Afterschool helped shape me into the man I am today by providing experiences and knowledge that I didn’t receive during the regular day. Afterschool helped shape my growth personally, socially, academically, professionally and spiritually. I believe that afterschool is still shaping who I am today. As I get older, I continue to see more value in afterschool programs and how integral they were and are to my overall success.
As a parent, how have afterschool programs been a benefit for you and your child?
As a parent I would have to say that afterschool programs have and will be a benefit for my child. Afterschool has given me the opportunity to look like a superhero in the eyes of my daughter. Afterschool is something you can’t quite place the exact overall value because the outcomes are limitless. My hope is that afterschool would expose my daughter to the same, if not more, opportunities I didn’t get from my parents or day program.