This Father’s Day, we want to introduce you to a very special dad. Meet Preston, whose two-year-old son Tazym attends Terra’s Child and Family Support Centre, while he apprentices as a welder and his partner Emma completes her high school education at Braemar School.

Preston describes his son as caring, adventurous, cheerful and loving, and Tazym’s impeccable manners make both of his parents proud. His vocabulary already includes ‘please,’ ‘thank you’ and ‘welcome.’

Preston, who often sings at powwows, began singing to his son at birth. “Powwow music is one of our many forms of celebration as indigenous people,” he explains. “A powwow consists of different drum groups who travel and sing, along with dancers of all ages. Being at a powwow is a form of healing and prayer. You are praying when you sing and dance. You are healing others with the songs that you sing, and you are healing others while they watch you dance. The two go hand-in-hand. I grew up witnessing the positive energy that radiates from these celebrations.”

When Tazym was six months old, he and his parents attended the annual celebration at Maskwacis First Nation where Preston sang throughout the weekend. Tazym, who had constantly been around drumming and singing, sat on his dad’s lap in the drumming circle (see video below). Preston and Emma were amazed by how calm and happy he was throughout the song. The joy and healing that Preston experiences through powwow music has clearly begun to translate to his son—Tazym has begun singing for his peers at the Child and Family Support Centre.

When asked what advice he would give other young fathers, Preston says, “Just keep trying. Young children don’t understand logic yet, but they know when you’re present and they notice when you’re not. So be present for them. Be there for them.”

“Being Tazym’s father is my biggest pride in life,” adds Preston. “I could not be more grateful for the fact that I get to witness him grow each and every day.”

On June 8, Preston’s partner Emma graduated with the Class of 2018. Our staff will miss seeing the family every day at the Child and Family Support Centre and around the school. Emma, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Alberta, will remain connected to Terra through our Post High School Transition program. We wish Preston, Emma and Tazym all the best as they achieve their goals. Congratulations!