Two Generations

Head Start Program helps two generations of family

father son outsideDwayne Drummond was raised by a young mother who was only 17 when she had him.

Growing up in a single-parent household with all its challenges, Drummond was determined to be a strong father figure for his children.

"It made me try to be a stronger male and be more involved in my children's lives," said the young father from Philadelphia's Mantua neighborhood, who also got encouragement from his children's local Head Start program.

"At the school district of the Philadelphia Head Start program, I was introduced to a program called FAMILY -- Father's Advocating Male Involvement in the Lives of the Youth," he said. "And when I first went to this meeting, I just got hooked on it and I have been there ever since."

Drummond was surrounded by mentors who show program participants who never had a father in their lives how to be a father, but most importantly how to be an effective father.

"I appreciate that group," said Drummond. "They give that whole family-oriented feeling."

Drummond, himself, was a Head Start student and still remembers those who taught him.

"I can remember some of my teachers -- Miss Mamie and Miss Sherry. They were so influential in my life - not only my life, my sister, who was a Head Start student, and also my brother, who was a Head Start student," said Drummond. "And I have a whole lot of memories from Head Start, and sometimes I could just walk down the street and start imagining me being at Head Start drawing Santa Claus around Christmas holiday time and stuff like that."

Another positive aspect of the Head Start program for Drummond is his introduction to different cultures.

"We have a lot of students from all around the world -- some from Bangladesh, some from Iraq, some are Cajun, and some are African-American," said Drummond. "Cultural diversity made me a better person dealing with parents. It also made my child a better person by giving her that experience that she might not be given in my neighborhood."