Born and raised in Marathon, Diane Culver has been a presence at the after-school care center for almost three decades — she is now taking care of the children of the children she used to care for. She provides a safety net for the kids who come to everyday after school — helping with homework, keeping track of grades and sometimes acting as a go-between for parents and the school.
In what situation have you felt like a “one woman show?” Well, I take responsibility for 55 kids every day after school and run summer programs, too. My kids are grown now, but I am still a “helicopter parent” and I still go to the SAC meetings, now on behalf of the kids in the center. I’m also the oldest of my siblings, so I tend to take charge of dad and family affairs..
Who are your role models? My late grandmother was born in 1912 and I remember her reading the newspaper every day. My dad subscribed to all of the magazines — Jet and Ebony — so we could see how other black people live. My family’s emphasis on education taught me how to succeed. My dad was also a role model in the type of mate I should find. He did the laundry AND doted on my mom.
What do you think is the secret to success and sanity? Oh, I think the secret to my success is definitely the Leo in me. No matter what I am going through emotionally, I put that aside and step in to help other people; it doesn’t do any good to cry and complain. For my sanity, we get a group together and go to music concerts; we just dance and have a good time.
You’re an independent woman, but we know it takes a village. Who is your village? Anthony, my family members, my friend Grimi Betancourt. I think that’s one of the things I love about Marathon, I know if I really needed help I would get it. It’s enough to be self sufficient, though, and have that in my back pocket in case I need it.
What advice would you give to your younger self just staring your journey? I do regret that I never finished college … but it’s just a piece of paper and I can help kids by relating my own experience.