Future Harvard Law graduate starts support staff nonprofit

  • Rehan Staton worked in sanitation before Tyler Perry offered to pay tuition
  • He started The Reciprocity Effect to bring students, support staff closer
  • Staton: "We may be too privileged and simply take that for granted"

BOWIE, Md. (NewsNation) — Rehan Staton was working his way through college as a sanitation employee when he caught the eye of media mogul Tyler Perry, who offered to pay his college tuition. Now, Staton is expected to graduate from Harvard Law School in May, and is already paying it forward.

Staton told NewsNation’s Mitch Carr on “Morning in America” that he is just happy he was able to make his dad proud.

“I was raised by a single dad,” he said. “And it’s just really good to know that I showed him that his sacrifices weren’t in vain.”

Staton emphasized the importance of the sanitation industry, saying that most people don’t realize how much it truly impacts any community.

“Sometimes, we may be too privileged and simply take that for granted,” Staton said.

The future Harvard graduate started The Reciprocity Effect, a nonprofit organization, as an effort to pay it forward. He said the main goal of The Reciprocity Effect is to bring students and support staff closer together by raising visibility for support staff and quality of life.

“For visibility, we created the first major award ceremony for the support staff,” he said. “There were over 180 people in attendance and was probably one of the few times you saw support staff, students and facility administration all in the same building on an equal playing field.”

Staton explained they were able to showcase the great support that the university had and that there were about 30 award winners.

In terms of quality of life, Staton said they are in the middle of creating an emergency fund for support staffers and also partnering with other organizations, like sports teams, to give the support staff opportunities to participate in leisure activities they may otherwise not get the chance to experience.


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