Nathan Hawkins spent 4 years in North Dakota's foster care system.

Passion and determination are beginning to shape the life of Nathan Hawkins, who until last spring was living in the youth foster system in eastern Tennessee. He has chosen to continue living in the Extension of Foster Care services for the next two years in order to stay closer to the system he is devoted to improving. His life has been marked with trauma and tribulation that has given him every excuse to call it in and remain at odds with the forces that wronged him. But he hasn’t.

Nathan’s role as an activist for foster youth permeates almost every sector of the system. He has given his time to the Youth4Youth program as well as Youth Villages Transitional Living Peer to Peer. On the street, he has worked to sell t-shirts (that he helped design) in order to raise the awareness and money needed to maintain and improve the activities granted to youth in foster care. At a local state fair, Nathan facilitated a booth that bolstered resources in parent recruitment. Politically, he participates in monthly meetings that discuss policy changes, community outreach programs, and ways to generally improve the system for foster youth. There are no bounds to what Nathan will do to give back and improve the lives of both current and future foster youth.

Having graduated high school, Nathan is now looking ahead towards the Tennessee College of Applied Technology where he is on a waiting list to complete his training in electricity. Nathan’s knack for perseverance in the face of adversity will prove invaluable to not only his future, but the future of all youth in a foster program. He is an example activist, and short of that “anyone who meets him falls in love with him and is immediately invested” in his future endeavors.

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2014 Outstanding Young Leaders