Horton was often mother to her younger sister, trying hard to keep things together. At Maury High School, she began running with a rough crowd. At one point, she tried to end her own life.
She had her son, Masiyah, while still in high school. “It was tough being pregnant, having no job and hearing people say I was not going to make it,” Horton said. “But something changed for me then. I knew I had to make a way for myself and my baby, so I started thinking about things in a more positive way.”
Horton’s aunt, Elysse Greenwood, a Tidewater Community College nursing graduate who is now at Norfolk State University, encouraged her to consider TCC despite Horton’s poor high school grades. “My aunt saw something in me, and she wanted me to have a better life than what I’d come up from,” Horton said.
She will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services when TCC holds its 58th Commencement Exercises May 16 at the Old Dominion University Ted Constant Convocation Center. Her passion is helping others overcome similar odds.
“When I think of my life before, I shudder. It’s only because of God and sheer determination that things have turned out so differently,” she said. “I want to open a counseling business and a shelter to help others facing similar circumstances. It’s the only thing I can see myself doing.”
Dominique Horton in her own words
Horton works at Broad Creek Community Center, where she connects with teens and provides programs to get them off the streets. “I love working with youth and listening to them, because I’ve been there,” she said.
Horton is engaged to her best friend, Albert, and has a stable home life now. “I’ve grown so much. When I first came here I was bitter, angry and unsure of myself. Now I’m happy, productive, and I want to make my world better.”
An Open Door participant and student worker, Horton credits the staff there for her success. “They go above and beyond for their students,” she said. “They provide an ear, while instilling those nuggets of wisdom. They’re grooming me to be a respectable business woman, and they believe in me 100 percent.”
Horton says Ivory Warren, formerly with the TCC Women’s Center and now program head for human services, provided that tough love. “She encouraged me, but also pushed me. I owe her so much.”
Horton plans to transfer to Old Dominion University to become a psychologist or counselor. “I’m not really a school person, but I’m going to keep going,” she said. “My time at TCC has shown me that I can do it, and that means everything.”