Natalie Tung '14 Pays Her Boarding Experience Forward
Originally published in Lawrenceville School Alumni News
Tung recently spoke to current Kirby House residents about HomeWorks during lunch on campus.
For Princeton University senior Natalie Tung ’14, her experience as a student living in Kirby House was formative and defining. She knew that for some students, the boarding experience could be life-changing.
With this in mind, Tung set out to find a way to replicate the experience for less fortunate students. A social entrepreneurship class helped Tung and two classmates find a solution right in their own backyard. The result is HomeWorks, a nonprofit organization that provides an after-school boarding program to middle and high school girls in Trenton, N.J.
“I wanted to find an easier way to make a boarding experience possible for underserved youth,” Tung says.
HomeWorks’ mission is to cultivate a community of empowered young women who strive to achieve their full potential and positively impact the world around them. The HomeWorks team formalized the organization during Princeton’s eLab Incubator and received initial funding after placing second in Princeton’s Social Impact Competition, leading to a four-week pilot program this past summer. Tung and her co-founders secured licensing, insurance, a residence, and hired staff to run the program.
Five teenage girls attending the Trenton public schools’ summer classes returned to the HomeWorks facility each afternoon from Sunday through Friday. There they received meals, housing, and structured time for academic support, extracurricular activities, peer bonding and mentorship before returning home to their families on the weekend.
Tung says the program was so successful – receiving positive feedback from parents and community partners – that she is now seeking additional funding to expand the program and run it full-time during the academic year. Her goal is to raise $214,000 to run a yearlong program.
Tung recently spoke to current Kirby House residents during lunch on campus and received a unanimous pledge of support. HomeWorks will be the beneficiary of the House’s fundraising activities during 2017-2018.
Other Lawrentians who have participated on the HomeWorks team include Aurelio Ayala ’14, Vilma Jimenez ’14 and Elijah Sumners ’14.