by Alan Rollins, National Narrative Shifter, FII-Detroit
Timothy and Kina Abrams celebrated their 20th anniversary on August 14th. The Abrams had a weekend to remember as they were able to spend some quality time together. A fellow FII member, Tamekia Young, who happened to get introduced to FII through the couple, provided them with 2 days of childcare. The couple will soon celebrate another anniversary this September – their 2-year FII anniversary. As FII members, the couple was able to gain access to resources that bolstered their love of family and education.
The Abrams have 5 children which are Madison, 16; Timothy Jr., 11; Titus, 9; Kensington, 5 and Kalina, 3 years old. Prior to giving birth to her 5 children, Kina stated she wanted to make sure she completed her college degree. She says she followed the sage wisdom of older women and pursued her educational goals prior to getting married and having children. She valued the advice she received because she was able to avoid the struggles of trying to raise a family while pursuing her college education. Kina ultimately obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-law from Eastern Michigan University as well as a Master’s Degree in American Culture and Social Sciences from Eastern Michigan University. Kina also finished her first year of law school at Cooley Law School, but stated after getting married and having her first child she decided to postpone completing her law degree. Kina is a stay at home mom and Timothy is a Sergeant at the Detroit Fire Department. Timothy has had a career at the Detroit Fire Department for the past 23 years.
The Abrams recalled how they met at a mall while Kina was on leave from Devry University after transferring from Western Michigan University. Kina remembers on that fateful day, a friend had to convince her to go to the mall despite her reluctancy. Kina and Timothy would eventually marry and have their 5 children that they partner in homeschooling together. Timothy is responsible for teaching the math curriculum. The couple started homeschooling due to their son, Timothy’s environmental and food allergies. Kina recalled she had already been preparing her eldest daughter, Madison for kindergarten but realized that homeschooling was more suitable for her children when Timothy Jr. became of school age. Kina stated Timothy Jr. was diagnosed as developmentally delayed, but overcame early struggles with the couple’s support and guidance.
Timothy Jr was a little over a year and a half when he started recognizing colors and numbers. He began writing at 2 years of age and by the time he was 3 years old, he was writing in cursive. Kina spoke of Timothy Jr.’s intensity with letters and words and how he would carve three dimensional letters and words in potatoes such as her favorite word, “Mom.” The Abrams third child, Titus had suffered from allergies even more severe than his brother’s. Homeschooling further became a more viable option for their family over traditional school due to the numerous doctor office visits they were faced with while maintaining their other children’s education. The couple stated that they utilize homeschool cooperatives to assist with enhancing the children’s curriculum. Kina summed up the benefits of homeschooling as presenting limitless learning opportunities, allowing personalized instructions customized to your child, and offering flexibility outside of the confines of the traditional school system.
Timothy and Kina definitely have instilled the importance of education and self-sufficiency in their children. Kina stated that she was able to utilize the FII stipend to assist with her oldest daughter, Madison’s entrepreneurial ventures. Madison was able to benefit from the stipend to assist with her handcrafted and custom-made bracelet and jewelry business. Madison was even a vendor at one of the FII events and also plans to be vendor at an upcoming National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) event. Kina also indicated that the FII journaling has helped keep the family focused on their goals and making them accountable for achieving them. Kina concluded that they would still like to partner with others within the FII community once they have completed their FII commitment.
The National Narrative Shifters are FII families that want to take the lead on advocating for FII’s approach of direct investment in family initiative and fostering of self-determination and supportive relationships. National Narrative Shifters collect stories of the hard work and initiative happening in their communities. Using FII’s data to corroborate the stories and leveraging FII’s blog and media networks and channels, they are creating a compelling national story on what families actually need to achieve economic mobility. This story was written by one of our 2019 National Narrative Shifters.