PROVO, Utah – Oct 04, 2021 – Since completing a social impact internship in Mexico City in 2012, Nathan Noble has charted a career path dedicated to serving others and helping people in need. The BYU Marriott School of Business entrepreneurship alumnus still feels the ripples of his foundational experiences during his time at BYU Marriott in his current efforts to reimagine and improve the lives of foster children.
Noble feels a deep sense of gratitude for the practical education he received at BYU Marriott that helped cement his desire for social entrepreneurship. “I appreciate that my classes were extremely hands-on,” he says. “Some of my most memorable classes pushed me to actually create a product or business venture.”
In addition to enjoying his classes, Noble took advantage of the opportunity to travel to Mexico City for an internship during his senior year. Through BYU Marriott’s Ballard Center for Social Impact, Noble joined the Academy for Creating Enterprise as a microenterprise and marketing intern. The academy is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals start businesses to lift themselves out of poverty. “I found my passion for social entrepreneurship in Mexico City and realized I wanted to be in that field long term,” he continues.
After graduating from the entrepreneurship program in 2014, Noble started preparing for a career focused on helping others. His time in Mexico remained at the forefront of his mind as he explored job offers. “I wanted a career where I could give the most,” Noble explains. “For me, pursuing an occupation I felt passionate about was important, and I’m passionate about social causes.” With his desire for serving others in mind, he accepted a position at Teach for America, a nonprofit organization that fills staffing needs in low-income school districts.
Noble wound up teaching Spanish with Teach for America for two years in the Phoenix area. In addition to teaching, he created an after-school music program to give students an opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. Noble also worked with individuals with learning disorders or other special needs. “Teach for America was a valuable experience because I focused primarily on providing a better education to underserved communities. My time teaching added to my interest in social entrepreneurship,” he says.
While working with students in need, Noble began to think of other ways he could help those around him, and he decided to focus his efforts on helping children in foster care. Noble was familiar with the needs of children in foster programs because his parents were foster parents for more than 10 years. Noble says one of the hardest parts of the foster child experience is being in a group home. Noble explains that the crowded nature of group homes and lack of consistency are main reasons children struggle in these environments.
With hopes of alleviating some of the challenges of group homes, Noble and his parents set in motion the process of creating their own innovative type of group home. “I worked for a short period at a business intelligence company to gain more technical background. While I worked there, my parents and I started Haven Family Homes. When the time was right, we took the leap. I left my position, and now I manage the company full-time,” he explains.
Noble says Haven Family Homes is distinct from other group homes because instead of having rotating supervisors overseeing a large number of children, his company uses a house-parent model. Foster youth are placed in a home of no more than five children, and their supervisors are permanent parent figures. “Data shows that youth do significantly better in a family-like setting,” Noble explains. “My parents and I wanted to create a better kind of group home that feels like a family, and we hope more companies will adopt our method.”
As director of Haven Family Homes, Noble is pleased with the stability and happiness he and his parents have brought to children’s lives. He is now preparing to move back to his hometown of Mesa, Arizona, where the company is located, and open a second home sometime during fall 2021. “Every group home has its challenges, including ours, but I’ve seen our house have great success in helping kids overcome many difficulties and transition into a more permanent setting. That has easily been the most rewarding part so far of my foray into social entrepreneurship.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller