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Nathaniel Moore

Despite his desire to get on the right path after being incarcerated, Nathaniel Moore struggled to find work and continued to face obstacles stemming from choices he made in his youth.

Growing up in Southeast Houston, Nathaniel hung out with the wrong crowds, joined a gang, was frequently in trouble, and by the time he made it to high school, had been kicked out of his school district. His family was forced to relocate to Alvin, TX in order for Nathaniel to get back in school.

For Nathaniel’s parents, the relocation was an opportunity to steer him away from his negative social influences and get him back on track.

“They figured getting me farthest away from the city would be best thing before I ended up dying or… doing something else crazy,” said Nathaniel. “They were trying to help me out. They knew where I was going…to the penitentiary. I guess I disappointed them because I went anyway.”

Nothing seemed to convince Nathaniel to change his ways, until an encounter with his son left an impression that will forever remain in Nathaniel’s memory.

“My baby’s mother brought my son to visit me in county [jail]. With me being affiliated [with a] gang, I didn’t know if I was going to come home - anything can happen. I explained that to her and she brought my son, who was two at that time, to visit me,” said Nathaniel. “The look on his face…he didn’t understand what was going on. He saw me through a thick glass, but he couldn’t touch me or feel me.”

“He was pounding on the glass [and] that stuck with me…it sticks with me to this day. I don’t want to go down that road ever again. I’m trying to be here for my son. I want to be the father to my son I never had.”

After Nathaniel was released, the 35-year old recalled conversations he had with others about a program that could offer him much-needed help. The program, operated by SER in partnership with the Houston Food Bank, was Serving for Success, a two-week job readiness course that, upon completion, offered the chance to interview with the Houston Food Bank for employment.

Hopeful that Serving for Success was still operating, Nathaniel reached out to SER and the Houston Food Bank to inquire about the program.

“I was looking for employment. I was willing to do whatever I needed to do to get employment,” said Nathaniel. “I have tattoos all over my body and on my face and that makes getting a job even harder, you know.”

Nathaniel was accepted into the program and took full advantage of the opportunity to further himself. After completing Serving for Success, Nathaniel worked closely with SER and the Employment Services Team to find a job that would offer him a future, eventually connecting him with the Houston Shoe Hospital.

“[And considering] the fact that I have felonies…that’s another hard thing to deal with,” said Nathaniel. “SER helped me out. SER made it possible [for me] to network with the [companies] they network with, [and] hooked me up with [the Shoe Hospital] … I am very thankful for that. [If it wasn’t for SER], I would have never known that this company existed.”

In September 2017, SER helped Nathaniel overcome his challenges and reach his goal of securing employment. He is now a shoe repairman at the Shoe Hospital located in Downtown Houston.  

“I am smiling more today because I got a job,” said Nathaniel. “My future is looking bright and I am very appreciative.”