Dontia’s story, a Stand IN Fellow

Parent & Family Engagement | 11/14/2019

Dontia Dyson
Stand Indiana Fellow

I didn’t meet my biological father until middle school or early high school, though I had several good stepfathers over the years. I grew up in neighborhood programs to keep me busy while my mom worked. She worked more than 12 hours a day, every day, to make ends meet. My mom is my hero, and she always made sure we made the best out of our situation.

This isn’t to say that life was perfect. We moved a lot growing up; and almost every year I was in a new school around Indianapolis, mostly IPS schools and a few township schools too. By the end of high school, I was skipping classes and getting into trouble. My mom kicked me out and I dropped out of high school despite having some amazing teachers who really tried to get me to stay and get my diploma.

Being out of school, I ended up getting into some trouble and being put on house arrest. Around this time, I also learned I was going to be a father. I decided I needed that diploma. I needed to do better and be more for my babies. Both of my daughters (born a month apart) were born just after I finished school.

Today, I run my own paint company.  My daughters are 10-years-old and I have a son who is two. And though I have been in trouble here and there trying to find my way through life, I’m grateful for the people who helped get me to where I am today. I’m grateful for the teachers who asked me to stay in school because even though I didn’t at first, without those encouraging voices, I may not have gone back. I’m grateful for a mother who worked so hard to raise her family right. I’m grateful that I have two great stepfathers and a biological father to be role models. I’m grateful to Stand for Children Indiana for helping me become a better father who is more involved with my children’s education.

It was just last year that I found out about Stand for Children. At the time, I had been getting involved with a lot of community events and Stand Indiana immediately felt close to me. I wished I would have known about Stand for Children sooner because now as a member and Fellow, I feel like I am doing my part to ensure our community rises and our children get the education they deserve. It’s been refreshing to be a part of a group that isn’t taking sides, but truly only cares about making sure every kid, including my own, has a good public school to attend.

Education can change your life. Throughout our lives, EVERYTHING WE DO, WE LEARN. So shouldn’t we want our children to learn more, and learn in the best schools? By becoming a Stand for Children Indiana member, you too can help all Indiana schools become great schools.

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