Nataliyah Friar was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She first realized she wanted to be more involved in the community after landing a job working with underprivileged children at a daycare in high school. Many of the children were in and out of foster, parents involved in the court system and she thought “If I could make a difference in the lives of these children in such a short period of time, imagine all the lives I can touch if I make this my lifelong profession.”
In 2013, Nataliyah received a full track and field scholarship to attend Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA., where she became a 5 time All-American in her respected events (4x100m relay, Long Jump, and Triple Jump). Track and field also granted her the opportunity to compete for Team USA at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea, where she received a silver medal in the 4x100m relay in 2015. In 2017, she received a Bachelor of Psychology. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree, Nataliyah remained at Louisiana State University, where she received her Master’s of Social Work, with a specialization in Child and Youth Studies, in 2019. Nataliyah was also apart of the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Scholar program that placed a special focus on the knowledge and understanding of children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth at risk for behavioral health disorders. Throughout her Master’s program, Nataliyah worked as a student intern at the Crisis Intervention Center in her foundation year, and the Children’s Advocacy Center in her advanced year where she gained a multitude of skills working with the at risk population in crisis situations.
Upon graduation, Nataliyah then worked as a high school social worker, which solidified her need and desire to help at risk youth in the community to reduce the school to prison pipeline occurrences.