Jasmine Whitehead was 18, raising 5-month-old Tarron Patterson-Whitehead, when a Press of Atlantic City reporter interviewed her in 1996 about her life as a single teen mother.
She was finishing high school and determined to raise her son right. Now Tarron, 17, is about to graduate from Atlantic City High School, and Jasmine wants other teen moms to know success is possible.
“He is a young man doing great things,” Jasmine said of Tarron. He’s been in honors classes since sophomore year, rows crew and plans to attend college in the fall.
Tarron hopes to become an Atlantic City firefighter or a middle school history teacher, he said.
Jasmine, assistant manager of the Inlet Tower Apartments in Atlantic City, said her parents and best friend were supportive with their time during Tarron’s childhood, but never rescued her financially. But even young women without such support can succeed with their children if they are determined and have a spiritual faith to keep them grounded, she said.
“If you are not proactive with children, you will lose them to the streets,” she said.
She made sure her son did his homework and stayed out of trouble, and advocated to get him summer jobs.
She hasn’t married or gotten a college degree, but got certified as a public housing manager, she said. She loves her work, and has had two other boys: Davoughn Senior, 13, who lives with his father in Seattle, and Chance Smith, 4, who lives with her.
“She’s on it ... at the important times,” Tarron said of his mom’s involvement in his life. “I’m good by myself, but she is on it.”
AIDS Alliance leader to retire
Keith Egan, president and CEO of the South Jersey AIDS Alliance, will retire effective March 31, he announced recently.
Egan has worked in social service for 39 years, and headed the SJAA for almost 14 years, he said.
“That’s about half of the agency’s life,” said Egan, 64.
He plans to spend more time in the outdoors and traveling with wife, Nancy Egan, who is supervisor of community services for the Cumberland County Health Department.
A busload of Lower Cape May Regional High School students and staff recently went to the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia to see alumnus Jeffrey Coon star as con man Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” a theater spokesperson said.
Coon visited with the students from his alma mater following the performance.
More stories to tell
Michelle Brunetti Post writes about the lives, careers and good deeds of southern New Jersey residents Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays in ‘Everyone Has a Story.’ To share your story, call her at 609-272-7219 or email her at MPost@pressofac.com