Saint Paul Promise participant Ahmani Curtis with her three sons

With Saint Paul Promise, Ahmani found a community that supports her journey to be the best parent possible


Ahmani Curtis does everything she can to help her three young sons dream big.

She has taken parenting classes to learn about child development. She has saved some money so they can go to college someday. She’ll also keep her growing family – a baby is on the way – living in Saint Paul.

“My life has been transformed here,” she says. “It’s been a welcoming place that warms my heart. I feel supported here.”

A single mother to Amir, 6; Axel, 2; and Antonio Jr., 8 months, Ahmani is particularly grateful for the people she’s met and the services she’s tapped through Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. She feels empowered to be the best parent possible.


Saint Paul Promise supports Ahmani and her children on the pathway to success

Saint Paul Promise is an education partnership that puts children in the Frogtown, Rondo, and Summit-University neighborhoods of Saint Paul on the pathway to college and career success. Saint Paul Promise recognizes that family conditions affect child development as much as a child’s direct experiences do. As a result, they support children and the generations that raise them.

Ahmani was introduced to Saint Paul Promise through The Peoples’ Fellowship, a program that offers financial literacy workshops and parenting classes to African American families. “That was the first time I had support and backup from my community,” Ahmani says. 

From The People’s Fellowship, Ahmani learned about other programs in her neighborhood that helped her support her family. She participated in the Promise Advocates Cohort (PAC), which gives parents the tools to advocate for family-centered policies in their schools and neighborhoods. 

The experience confirmed Ahmani’s decision to remain in Saint Paul with her children. For the first time, she felt like she really belonged in a community.

“It’s easy to feel unheard and unseen in a big city, especially as a single mom and survivor of domestic violence,” she says.” Being a part of PAC was welcoming and warming to my heart.”

I don’t want to limit my sons in any way. SPPN has given me the confidence that I’m making the right decisions for them.

Ahmani Curtis, parent in Saint Paul Promise

Parent Educator Lizzie Fischer helps Ahmani be a teacher to her family

PAC is also where she met Lizzie Fischer, a Parent Educator with Saint Paul Promise’s Thrive by Five program, which supports parents as teachers to their young children. Fischer encouraged Ahmani to participate in that opportunity with her two youngest sons. Fischer visits Ahmani at home every other week or so. She checks that the children are meeting milestones and gives their mother ideas for how she can better support their development.

“We partner with families to explore what learning and teaching looks like for them,” Fischer says. “We believe that every child is a genius and their brilliance begins at birth.”

At first, Ahmani was nervous about inviting someone else into her home – it’s her sacred, protected space. But Fischer took time to build trust and encouraged Ahmani to ask for what she needed. 

As a result, Ahmani started to make changes to her home. For example, she emptied a kitchen cupboard so her energetic toddler could climb into it and explore. She moved her big furniture around, so he now has more floor space where he can run and jump.

“I feel supported. It’s a relief to have folks on my side,” she says. “I’m always second-guessing myself, so you can’t imagine how much I need to hear that I’m doing a great job.”

Creating successful communities, one home at a time

Fischer says her job is to help families build and develop their strengths. She encourages caregivers to use their voices because they best know what their children need to thrive. “We’re creating safe, successful homes, which creates safe, successful neighborhoods, which creates safe, successful communities,” Fischer says.

Amir, a first grade student

Ahmani’s two younger sons recently started attending child care part-time. This will give her more time to search for a job or attend school, something she’s wanted to do since the pandemic struck. It also will give her time to prepare for the birth of her fourth child.

“I don’t want to limit my sons in any way. SPPN has given me the confidence that I’m making the right d ecisions for them,” she says. 

Her oldest, a first grader, recently met Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter at school. The young boy couldn’t believe that the mayor was black – just like him.

“Amir started to dance and celebrate,” Ahmani says. “I’m grateful for everything. I believe because of our experiences here, my sons are going to be great men.”