Ebony Simmons has always been ambitious. She has dreamed of becoming a hair stylist, fashion designer, and baker.
Back in 2003, her dreams seemed too daunting as she raised three children while pregnant with a fourth. That was until she heard about DRU/Mondawmin Healthy Families at a school health fair. She quickly joined the program.
As his two-year-old daughter sits on his lap, William Powell, feeds his son sitting to his right.
Multitasking is a part of life for the 37-year-old.
He is the proud father of four children.
“Some days it’s hard, but it is worth it,” William says.
Tabitha, 32, married her best friend in July 2011.
Their love story turned tragic when her husband was murdered just two weeks after the wedding. Then two days after the funeral, Tabitha found out she was pregnant.
Four-year-old twins, Jermaine and Ja’lee, start kindergarten in September.
Their mother, Keyonia Williams, 24, credits Dru/Mondawmin Healthy Families (DRUM) with helping her and her children reach this exciting milestone.
After learning about DRUM through a family friend, Keyonia enrolled while pregnant with the twins in 2012. She was assigned to Family Support Worker Latesa Allen.
“Keyonia has been really pleasant to work with,” says Ms. Latesa. “I know it was challenging for her when the twins were born prematurely. They were still in the hospital when she came home. She didn’t have transportation, but she would walk from her house in West Baltimore to the University of Maryland Medical Center—about 45 minutes—to see her babies. And she didn’t complain.”
What’s the biggest lesson Shoquitta White has learned from her experience in the DRUM program?
When to say ‘no.’
“I’ve always been a ‘yes’ person, but my family support workers (FSW) made it clear to me—and they always remind me—that it’s more important to focus on what is best for my son than to worry about other people’s feelings,” Shoquitta says. “I have to focus on my kid and not let anyone come into our environment and mess up what we have planned.”
Ferlanda Kells first learned about DRU/Mondawmin Healthy Families while at her church, Union Baptist, in West Baltimore.
“I was actually talking to Barbara Hughes [who is the founder of DRUM] before she retired,” Ferlanda explains.
The 20-year-old told Hughes that she was pregnant and struggling to pay for some necessary items like a crib.
This is where we share the stories of the wonderful families we've been honored to help nurture over the years.