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.”
The 28-year-old was referred to DRUM the day her gynecologist confirmed she was pregnant with her son Durrell, who turns 4 in March.
“It was the best thing she could have done for me,” Shoquitta says. “I didn’t know what to expect but when I met with Mrs. Cynthia [her initial family support worker], she broke it down for me and I was very comfortable.”
The DRUM workshops and home visits have prepared Shoquitta for her next big step: the birth of her second child. She is 11 weeks pregnant.
“I asked Durrell if he’s excited about becoming a big brother and he said ‘yeah’ but I don’t think he actually knows what it means yet,” she says.
Her goal is to ensure he won’t feel left out when the new baby comes. He has a healthy distraction, though, as he prepares for kindergarten in the fall. Shoquitta is on the hunt for the best elementary school for him, and plans to move near the school she selects when her apartment lease ends in a few months.
“I get excited every time I walk past this school that’s run by Johns Hopkins... I’m practicing his abc’s and numbers with him every day to get ready,” Shoquitta says.
The Baltimore-native says DRUM has equipped her with skills beyond preparing her son for his first day of school. Her new FSW, Natasha Foreman, has helped her set and accomplish every goal she’s set for herself, including getting her own apartment, car, and state job.
“There have been a couple of times when I didn’t know what to do, and I could just pick up the phone and they [at DRUM] could help me out with whatever I needed,” Shoquitta recalls. “They know their way around the city and they are very informative.
“I have my mother and father to get advice from, but sometimes parents can be a pain,” she says with a chuckle. “Sometimes an outsider can do a better job of reaching you. I love DRUM.”
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