Community service has always been a passion for Nathan Sokolic, a member of Pace Academy’s Class of 2014. Graduating with more than 1,400 hours of community service, Nathan has been a service leader for Habitat for Humanity, a Sunday school teacher, a volunteer with underprivileged children, and was even selected as one of Atlanta’s 20 under 20 individuals who are impacting their communities in amazing ways.
Nathan has done a great deal of work with Mama Rosa’s Kids Inc., which is a community outreach program that takes care of children with difficult backgrounds by providing them with meals and a safe place to spend their day.
Nathan credits his mother and the sacrifices she made for him as the inspiration for him to help other children in need. He said, “People were put into my life to help me get to the next step, and it would be selfish of me to not do that for another kid who needs it even more than I did when I was growing up.”
Nathan was one of five students in Atlanta and 220 students around the nation to be accepted into the Bank of America’s Student Leader program – an eight-week summer internship program where the members get hands-on experience with nonprofit organizations. Nathan worked with the East Lake Foundation where his work varied from volunteering at homeless shelters with children to working in the East Lake Community Garden.
“It was a fantastic experience seeing other people commit their lives to people who sometimes just can’t even help themselves,” he said.
Nathan has generated enthusiasm from his mentors. Cecilie Goodman, community relations manager at Bank of America, said, “In every project, training and group exercise during his summer as a Bank of America Student Leader, it was obvious that Nathan is a natural leader with the intangible ‘it’ factor we all hope to embody.
“He’s calmly enthusiastic, encouraging to others, and direct in a friendly and graceful manner. Most importantly, Nathan is grounded – by his family, friends, commitment to education and innate desire to do good in this world.”
In his junior year of high school, Nathan was invited to a Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Houston, Texas. After, when he returned to school, he realized that he could use the skills he learned at the conference to forward Pace’s diversity program. Over Christmas break, he worked to develop a model program through which students and faculty could work together to promote diversity at Pace. His model has spread and been implemented in other area schools.
Nathan is attending Haverford College this fall. He received a scholarship, part of which includes a grant he can use to fund community nonprofits of his choice. He is also taking part in a social injustice program in Philadelphia prior to starting his freshman year at Haverford.
This article was written by Eliza Paprin, a student at Riverwood International Charter School.