Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad: Building, Bonding, and Growing Men into the Fathers of Tomorrow

In the heart of Connecticut, a dynamic force is reshaping the narrative of fatherhood, manhood, and community engagement. Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad, the visionary CEO of My People Clinical Services, and the innovator behind The Manhood Tree, is steering transformative changes in his community. With over two decades dedicated to social work, Muhammad’s journey from a young camp counselor to a pioneering social entrepreneur encapsulates a relentless commitment to empowering men and fathers.

“My main focus has always been fatherhood and engaging men,” Abdul-Rahmaan begins, reflecting on the evolution of his career. From his early days as a camp counselor to his strategic decision to pursue social work, his path has been guided by a deep-seated desire to uplift and support. “It’s about helping our people succeed,” he asserts, a mission that has driven him to establish multiple organizations aimed at nurturing positive male identities and supporting family structures.

The Genesis of My People

The idea of My People germinated from Muhammad’s realization that the conventional frameworks of social work were insufficient to address the unique needs of his community. “I recognized that if I continued to work within traditional settings, I wouldn’t be able to practice social work the way our community needed it,” he explains. This epiphany led him to take a bold leap—founding his own agency. “It sounded like a crazy idea at the time,” he laughs, “but I was young, ambitious, and ready to try.”

Starting with a part-time job to sustain his daytime efforts in building My People, Muhammad’s strategic shift to focus on services like mentoring and fatherhood programs soon caught the attention of local agencies. His organization quickly grew, demonstrating his knack for identifying and responding to community needs.

The Manhood Tree: A New Approach to Addressing Manhood

The Manhood Tree stands as one of Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad’s most innovative and impactful initiatives, reflecting his deep commitment to the holistic development of men in today’s society. Originating from a simple presentation, it has evolved into a comprehensive curriculum that explores the various stages of male development—from boyhood to mature manhood. Abdul-Rahmaan explains, “Manhood is the trunk, and fatherhood is just one branch. The Manhood Tree isn’t just a program; it’s a journey through the stages of a man’s life.” Each segment of the curriculum—neighborhood, boyhood, teen and young adulthood, brotherhood, fatherhood, and manhood—serves as a critical reflection point where participants can address past experiences and build a foundation for healthy development.

This transformative program provides a supportive space for men to discuss and understand the interconnected aspects of their identities, fostering a sense of accountability and empowerment essential for personal and communal well-being. “We aim to help men build strong roots,” says Abdul-Rahmaan, highlighting the foundational values and skills that the curriculum fosters, which help participants navigate life’s challenges with resilience and integrity. The Manhood Tree also emphasizes the importance of community and brotherhood, offering tools to form and maintain meaningful relationships that contribute positively to their lives and the broader community. Through workshops, discussions, and mentoring, the program cultivates a dynamic environment where men are encouraged to grow and thrive, impacting themselves and their communities profoundly.

Fatherhood Manologues

Among Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad’s innovative initiatives, the Fatherhood Manologues stand out as a particularly creative and impactful project. This initiative offers a platform for fathers to articulate their experiences, challenges, and joys through the medium of storytelling and performance. “The Fatherhood Manologues provide a voice to the diverse and often underrepresented perspectives of fathers,” Abdul-Rahmaan describes. Participants engage in workshops where they craft and hone personal stories about fatherhood, which culminate in public performances. These narratives range from poignant reflections to uplifting tales, each shedding light on the multifaceted nature of being a father.

The impact of sharing these stories is profound, both for the storytellers and the audience. “It’s about connection and catharsis,” says Abdul-Rahmaan. “Fathers come to see that their struggles and victories are universal, bridging gaps across different backgrounds and experiences.” This project not only fosters a sense of community among fathers but also serves to educate and inspire broader audiences about the realities and transformative potential of engaged fatherhood. The Fatherhood Manologues go beyond mere expression; they act as a powerful tool for social change, challenging stereotypes and advocating for a deeper appreciation of the role fathers play in society.

Community and Collaboration

Beyond his organizational work, Muhammad is deeply involved in direct community engagement. His initiatives have included health events, mentorship programs. “I think it’s important to be community-facing, not just system-facing,” Muhammad states, emphasizing the shift towards more proactive community services that don’t require individuals to be in crisis to receive support.

As My People approaches its 20th anniversary, Muhammad reflects on the journey. “You have to go where the energy is, and sometimes, that means being ready to pivot to meet new challenges,” he advises aspiring entrepreneurs.

Mrs. Muhammad : The Bedrock of Family Success

Dr. Dayeshell Muhammad, the wife of Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad, is an indispensable pillar in both their family and the multitude of community initiatives they spearhead together. He credits his wife’s belief in him as a crucial component of his success. “She believed in me when it was just an idea. Her support has been instrumental in everything we’ve accomplished,” he shares warmly. As a highly educated and driven individual, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that not only complements but significantly enhances Abdul-Rahmaan’s vision. “My wife has been my rock, my partner in every sense of the word,” Abdul-Rahmaan shares, reflecting on her critical role in the success of their projects. Her influence extends beyond organizational leadership; she is a constant source of support and inspiration, shaping the direction of their programs and influencing Abdul-Rahmaan’s perspectives on various ideas and topics. Their relationship, thriving on mutual respect and shared goals, creates a dynamic synergy that drives their impactful community work.

In her roles as a wife and mother, Dr. Dayeshell exudes compassion, wisdom, and dedication, qualities that resonate throughout their home and professional lives. “Dayeshell is not only outstanding in her professional role but also at home; she is an incredible mother to our children,” Abdul-Rahmaan remarks. Her ability to balance demanding professional commitments with her family duties illustrates her profound commitment and love, setting a strong example for their children about the importance of education, resilience, and integrity. This nurturing approach ensures that each child feels valued and understood, fostering an environment where they can thrive. Dr. Dayeshell’s guidance doesn’t stop with nurturing; she actively shapes their children’s values and visions for the future, making her an unwavering beacon of support and a profound source of inspiration, profoundly impacting the family and enhancing their community efforts.

Muhammad’s Personal Journey Fatherhood

Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad’s journey into fatherhood, which began at the tender age of 19, has profoundly shaped his personal life and professional mission. As a young father, he quickly learned the profound impact of active fatherhood on both individual families and the broader community. “Being a father has taught me more about myself and my community than I ever expected,” he reflects. His experiences have driven him to create initiatives like the Father to Father program, designed to foster spaces where men can learn, share, and grow together. He explains, “This program isn’t just about providing services; it’s about creating a space where men can learn, share, and grow together,” emphasizing that strong communities are indeed built on the foundation of strong families. Abdul-Rahmaan’s work aims to model positive fatherhood and provide fathers with the necessary tools to navigate the joys and challenges of parenting with confidence and support.

As a father of three, Abdul-Rahmaan’s personal fatherhood journey continues to inspire and inform his advocacy and professional endeavors. The lessons of patience, understanding, and unconditional love learned through fatherhood have not only enriched his life but also enhanced his capacity to support other fathers. “Every day as a father brings new lessons,” he shares, noting how his relationship with his oldest daughter and his ongoing role as a father have taught him about adaptability and the evolving nature of parental support. He strives to demonstrate positive male behavior to his son and daughters, ensuring they know he is a constant source of guidance and love. Abdul-Rahmaan’s commitment to being an ever-present figure in his children’s lives is mirrored in his professional work, where he encourages other fathers to embrace both the challenges and triumphs of fatherhood with resilience and grace, reinforcing the transformative power of engaged fatherhood within the community.

Through his personal and professional life, Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad stands as a testament to the impact of dedicated, mindful fatherhood on both family and community. His journey underscores a core message: that true fatherhood is about more than biological ties—it’s about emotional presence, enduring commitment, and the profound influence a father has on shaping the lives of his children.

A Legacy of Empowerment

Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad embraces the moniker “Dream Chaser Number One,” a title that reflects his lifelong commitment to pursuing and realizing dreams not just for himself but for the entire community. This designation is more than just a label; it is a philosophy that guides his every action. “Chasing dreams is about setting high aspirations and tirelessly working towards them, overcoming obstacles along the way,” Abdul-Rahmaan explains. His role as Dream Chaser Number One is embodied in his creation of dynamic social programs and initiatives that aim to inspire others to pursue their aspirations with zeal and persistence. He actively encourages individuals within his community to dream big and provides them with the tools and support necessary to transform these dreams into reality. His leadership by example motivates others to embark on their own journeys of personal and community development, making “dream chasing” a communal endeavor. Through workshops, mentoring, and public speaking, Abdul-Rahmaan not only chases his own dreams but fosters an environment where others are empowered to do the same.

“Never stop dreaming,” Muhammad concludes. “And once you’ve achieved your dreams, help someone else achieve theirs. That’s how we change the world—one dream, one person at a time.” This statement encapsulates the essence of his philosophy: empowering individuals to realize their potential and, in turn, enrich their communities.

Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad’s story is a testament to the power of vision, resilience, and relentless dedication to community transformation. Through his journey from a young, learning father to a beacon of leadership in fatherhood advocacy, he has not only transformed his own life but has also ignited change in the lives of countless others. His initiatives like The Manhood Tree and Father to Father program mirror his deep commitment to fostering strong, supportive environments where men and fathers can thrive and contribute positively to their communities. As he continues to shape paths for future generations, Abdul-Rahmaan stands as a profound example of how personal growth and community service can intertwine to build a legacy of strength, understanding, and enduring love. His life’s work reaffirms an empowering message: when we invest in bettering ourselves and supporting one another, the impact resonates far beyond our immediate circles, altering the fabric of society for the better.

You can follow Abdul @abdulrahmaanimuhammad and you can learn more about My People’s Clincial Services and The Manhood Tree by visiting https://www.mypeople-ct.com/ & https://www.themanhoodtree.com/.

Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad is a Member of The League of Black and Unlimited Dads.
This Father’s Day, Walmart is proud to launch The League of Black & Unlimited Dads campaign in collaboration with TheBlackManCan. We are celebrating the inspiring stories of Black fathers across the country who embody the spirit of dedication, love, and resilience. This campaign will feature an animated short, surprise home celebrations and a series of compelling editorial stories that showcase these incredible men as the superheroes they are in their families’ lives. Visit walmart.com/blackandunlimited to learn more.

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