Regina, Ju’vane, and their six children have been a part of Way to Grow for more than a decade due to a promise Ju’Vane made his mother. “In 2007, before my mom passed away, I promised her that I would change my life for the better. I moved to Minneapolis and joined the FATHER Project when my daughter was two years old,” explains Ju’Vane. It was at one of the FATHER Project’s classes that Ju’Vane was encouraged to pursue a referral to Way to Grow.
The Carpenter’s first Family Educator, Tonia, made such an initial impact on the family. “When Tonia came to our house, the original purpose was to work with Jayda, but the other children became so curious that they would sit and listen to what was going on as well,” Ju’vane recalls. Over time, the family’s relationship evolved into a lifetime bond keeping them close to Tonia. “I built such a strong relationship with Tonia over the years,” says Regina. “While Tonia has retired and we now work with Carmen, we still keep in touch. Two of my children even play sports with her grandchildren.”
With six children at home, Regina and Ju’Vane clearly have a busy life, but they have made education a family priority by making time to read together and spending lots of time outdoors away from screens. “We’ve been empowered and have learned so much from working with Tonia and Carmen. From working with us in our home and even attending school conferences with us, they’ve been by our side every step of the way and helped us become better parents,” Regina explains.
Through the support of Way to Grow, the Carpenters have laid an educational foundation for all their children, prioritizing family time and learning together. In fact, despite being so busy, they have become one of Way to Grow’s most active families. Beyond regular home visits, three of their children have attended Preschool Pals, they have taken Cooking Matters courses, participate weekly in Play to Grow at Lucy Laney, and attend every Family Engagement Night and special event they can.
Education is such a powerful tool. It brings families together and sets a precedent for bigger and brighter futures—and the Carpenters truly reflect that.