Alex Walton | Horton’s Kids

Growing up in an upper-middle class suburb, I never wanted for anything. I know not hunger, nor poverty, nor fear. All I have known is opportunity, excess, and privilege. I had never lived anywhere but my neighborhood until I substituted it with the even wealthier neighborhood surrounding American University. When I got the opportunity to volunteer with Horton’s Kids, I jumped on it. Being able to work in downtown D.C. every Wednesday sounded so exciting, anyone would snatch the chance if they had it. I was gleeful and excited – until I was told I would work in the Anacostia branch of Horton’s Kids. I had only ever heard rumors and dark tales about Anacostia. Everything I heard told me that I should go nowhere near the metro line that passes through it, let alone the neighborhood. I was intimidated when I came the first day, but I quickly realized Anacostia was not the dark, dangerous place it was set out to be. Rather, it is a could-be vibrant community just trying to get by. Stricken by poverty, Anacostia is a shell of its potential. But the people there echo the glory of days past, this is not more true with anyone than with the children I have worked with at Horton’s kids. Hopeful, bright, stubborn, and energetic are all words that come to mind when I think of the children I have worked with. They give me hope. They are the future of Anacostia, the future of D.C., and the future of the United States. Horton’s Kids is facilitating the success of children in Anacostia. By helping them realize their potential, they are providing the materials for bright futures. I never thought that a singular non-profit could make a difference, but Horton’s Kids has proven me wrong. Children that stay in the program are far more likely to not only graduate from high school, but also graduate from college. Because of my experiences, I feel that I am richer person holistically. Just as it assures students get the brighter future they deserve, I was given an opportunity I thought I would never have. To serve, to earn, and to learn simultaneously.


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