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On Fatherhood: Celebrating Cara Dads

Left: Marquis with his girlfriend and stepson. Right: Tyrell with his two sons

“‘Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend.” – Robert L. Backman

At Cara, we are constantly motivated by the fathers in our community and the strength and power they show in their important role. In honor of Father’s Day, we asked just a few Cara fathers and sons to reflect on fatherhood, family, and lessons they have learned along the way.

Included in this conversation are:
Eddie Harvey – Employed Cara Participant and father to ten children (ranging from 19 to 55) and a grandfather and great-grandfather to more than 30 kids
Marquis Washington – Cara Alum and stepfather to his stepson (age five)
Tyrell Langstrom – Cara Alum and father to two sons (ages 14 and 15)

On what the concept of fatherhood means to them…

Marquis: Fatherhood’s my destiny.
Tyrell: As a father of two teenage boys, I’ve learned that fatherhood means patience.

On their earliest memories of being a father…

Eddie: My oldest was born in 1965 and I was just 16 years old, still living in Mississippi. I had three children before I graduated from high school. I had to make sacrifices, especially as a young father. I played football and had scholarships that I had to put on the backburner because I had to work to take care of my kids.
Marquis: I met my girlfriend in 2017 at a birthday party. After dating for a little bit she introduced me to her son. I saw myself in him. I saw another black man growing up without a father and I didn’t want that to happen again.

On the biggest joy of fatherhood…

Eddie: I get to be in my great-grandkids’ lives and that’s what keeps me going honestly. My great-granddaughter is 4 years old and she’s smart as a whip.
Marquis: I just love seeing him growing up. When I first met him, he was running around with Pampers and a pacifier, now I see him doing big boy stuff and it’s inspiring.
Tyrell: When I see my kids putting forth the effort and succeeding – and then are recognized for the good they are doing. My youngest boy was struggling with virtual learning and his classes, but every day, he didn’t miss roll call, he put the work in. Seeing that brings me joy.

On their father and what they learned from him…

Eddie: My dad was the oldest of his family and it was on him to provide at a young age. He didn’t get to finish school but he worked two jobs to provide for us. He taught me how to be honest and work hard – and I instilled those lessons in my children.
Marquis: My older sister and I didn’t have a father. My mom wasn’t ready to be a parent of three kids but she did it to the best of her abilities – and she made me a better man than any man could teach me how to be.
Tyrell: I see a lot of my dad in me, but the most important thing I learned from him was it’s okay to not always have the right answer, and that you should be able to apologize to your kids.

On what Cara taught them…

Marquis: Cara taught me to not relax, which is great because parenting can take you out of your comfort zone. You’re going to have some rough days, but it’s ultimately up to us to make it a GREAT day!
Tyrell: Because I found Cara, I get up in the morning. I’m doing something worthwhile. I’m putting forth the effort. I’m focused and I’m a doer. And I get to set that example for my sons.

On what motivates them as a parent…

Eddie: Seeing them grow and come into their own. I’m very proud of all my children and I believe they have kept me out of trouble.
Marquis: My family taught me how to be my best self.
Tyrell: Kids see you and the effort you are putting in for them. I never want my kids to see me doing anything less for them.

On their hope for the future…

Eddie: I hope my children and grandchildren continue to excel in life, get an education, and do whatever their hearts desire. That they stay grounded and become people who are role models, people they can look up to, and people who are fair. It’s been a wonderful journey and I just wish the best for their future.
Marquis: I want my kids to grow up compassionate to the needs of others and to have the drive to help.
Tyrell: I want success for my children and for them to be better than I was in all phases of my life.

Your support of Cara helps fathers, sons, and so many other motivated job seekers create their own success story. Please consider a making a financial contribution today at www.caracollective.org/donate. Thank you.