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FOX 13 honors Native American advocate, youth leader with Dream Team surprise

Posted at 6:40 AM, Feb 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-28 13:00:28-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Neighborhood House is a non-profit organization that provides daycare services for children and adults.

“A lot of the people we work with are on the lower income demographics. They oftentimes are minority groups,” said Neighborhood House teacher Taylor Jewett.

Among the staff at Neighborhood House is Nate Manuel, a Native American man whose kindness, patience and advocacy for people of color has left a big impression on the children he works with.

“He wants kids to see him and know that he looks like them, and they can be successful like he is,” said Felicia Robledo, a coworker and Dream Team nominator.

In the fall of 2022, Nate was diagnosed with ALS, a long-term illness that weakens the body and is eventually terminal.

“Watching him go through that has been really hard,” Jewett explained.

Despite his diagnosis, Nate's positive outlook hasn't wavered.

“He’s just ‘I’m going to keep fighting, find answers, find a way,'” said Robledo. “He’s been normalizing for the kids, which is great. He’s been telling them, you know, we all have hard times and we just have to fight through it.”

The FOX 13 Dream Team surprised Nate with $1,500 for life expenses, as well as cooking lessons with a professional chef.

When asked why Nate continues to come to work every day he said, "There's going to come a time where me, and the entire school-aged program, everybody here is not going to be able to do what we do. And we have to do right by the youth because that's our future, that's the leaders of tomorrow."

“I think that the hope he holds onto is amazing. The strength that he has…and he shows the kids that perseverance that that strength. Keep going to matter what’s thrown your way. To keep fighting and hold onto that hope.” said Robledo.

If you'd like to help Nate, click here to donate.