John E. Horan Garden Apartments
Growing up in public housing was beautiful. It was a joy as a child because most of my family was out there and my grandmother lived in the same court as me. My cousins lived there. It was family! Everybody had family and it’s so interesting to reflect back on those times and know that everyone looked out for each other.
All the families knew and respected one another. It was always “Mr. or Mrs.” when you spoke to adults and it was just amazing to experience that as a child. We never saw poverty out there. We had playgrounds, fields to play sports and a neighborhood school. Everyone was in the same financial situation, so you didn’t see poverty, but you saw people working hard every day just trying to survive. Although there were challenges, that sense of community and family outweighed those challenges and made me realize I was never alone in my journey.
Through those experiences, I started to realize that public housing was necessary and people who build their lives in it are vital parts of a community. I was offered many opportunities in public housing that led to jobs, scholarships and experiences that shaped my view of the world.
I was very grateful when I won a scholarship through public housing that helped support me through college. Throughout my college years, I had summer employment that paid for my books, food, and other necessities – all made possible through public housing. Being a product
of public housing led to my passion to work with youth. I spent many years at the Girls and Boys Club serving as a mentor and basketball coach.
Currently, I am living in Johns Creek, Ga. with my wife, Wendy and four children. I have been a Principal at Elkins Pointe Middle School for five years now and I credit my public housing experience for putting me on a trail to always give back and serve communities with at-risk youth.