Man watering plants in greenhouse.

Continuing to Celebrate Black History Month

This month and beyond, DDI is dedicated to highlighting our diverse workforce and showcasing the contributions made by our dedicated employees.

We are excited to share the story of siblings Jasmine and Reynolds Hawkins today. Jasmine began her career with DDI as an Assistant Manager in our Children’s Residential Program in 2014, and just two years later, she was promoted to a managerial role. Reynolds is a Direct Support Professional at the DDI Little Plains campus.

“Nothing comes close to the feeling I get knowing that I've made a positive impact on their development,” said Reynolds.

Jasmine and Reynolds come from a lineage of leaders who made a historical impact in our communities. 

 Siblings Jasmine and Reynolds

Their grandmother, Mildred Johnson Hawkins Jones, and uncle, Cleveland Johnson, Jr., were the first and second African Americans to graduate from Central Islip Senior High School on Long Island, NY.  They graduated in the class of 1951 and 1952, respectively.

Collage of two young women and a man

Their grandfather Reynolds E. Hawkins, Sr. served the military as a Chef and was the first African American baker to work for Entenmann's Bakery.

Picture of group of Entenmann's Bakery

Jasmine and Reynolds inherited their family members’ passion and determination. Jasmine recently joined DDI’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, which is committed to creating a deep sense of belonging and a culture where the DDI community feels welcomed, valued, and respected. She joined the Council during the height of civil unrest in 2020 and is determined to make a difference at DDI and beyond. 

“I jumped at the chance to be a part of the Council. No matter where I go, I am concerned for the people who have no voice,” Jasmine shared.

Jasmine is excited about the impact she can make on the Council. The Council was instituted to find areas of opportunity for DDI, and Jasmine plans to identify and make progress in those areas. 

Celebrating Black History Month is important to Reynolds because it recognizes the “truth behind American history.”

We are so grateful for Jasmine and Reynolds and their dedication to the children and families they support on a daily basis, as well as their commitment to a unified workplace culture.