Our work at Horizons for Youth is heavily focused on breaking barriers, ensuring that children receive a quality education and the supports needed to overcome the odds and reach their full potential. Our society has created countless obstacles to success, and our team partners with families to build creative paths over, under, and around those walls. There was no better guide on this journey than Shalanda Dexter.
Shalanda radiated love and joy, and everyone she met was better for knowing her. She carried a contagious energy and an indomitable positivity everywhere she went. Even in just a brief encounter, she had the power to touch your heart and move your soul.
Shalanda was also a fierce warrior. “I love my babies,” she was often heard saying, and she fought tirelessly on their behalf. She challenged systems and helped others see things in a new light. She was a dedicated advocate for all students, and especially for those with diverse learning needs, for those whom nothing seemed to come easy. She strove every day to help students cross the line from the impossible to the possible. By spearheading Horizons for Youth’s work with diverse learners, Shalanda demonstrated day in and day out that how a child learns doesn’t dictate how far that child will go.
Shalanda radiated love and joy, and everyone she met was better for knowing her.
Shalanda had an intrepid spirit. Through her unrelenting commitment to securing the support students need to succeed, she uncovered an alternative to the narrative diverse learners had come to believe about themselves. She enabled diverse learners to see all they were capable of, and because of her, countless stories have been — and will continue to be — rewritten.
Shalanda taught us what’s possible, and we will strive every day to live up to the standard she set for working alongside diverse learners. What she started lives on through the lives she touched and through the Diverse Learner Program she helped found at Horizons for Youth. In her name, future generations of Horizons for Youth diverse learners will receive the love, determination, and care they need and deserve to realize their full potential. Shalanda laid the groundwork, and we will continue the important work she started.