By: College of Southern Maryland
Awards CSM $100,000 for Childhood Development, Childcare Programs
There is no mistaking how Charles County resident Hammad Matin feels about his late mother and College of Southern Maryland (CSM) alumna Shaheen A. Matin. “She embodied the American dream,” Matin recently shared. “And I miss her every day.”
Shaheen, who was the beloved caretaker of hundreds of children as they passed through the Little Angels Learning Center from 1985 through 2014, died in 2014 following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. To honor their mother, Matin and his sister Seema and brother Sajjad recently presented the CSM Foundation with a $100,000 gift in her name.
The Shaheen A. Matin Class of 1990 Memorial Scholarship Endowment will support students who wish to follow in Shaheen’s footsteps by attending CSM to study early childhood and childcare programs. In coming months, CSM will also dedicate room 105 in the Community Education (CE) Building at the La Plata Campus to Shaheen, and name the CE Lab, “The Shaheen A. Matin Early Childhood Lab ‘90.”
Immigrant success story
Matin proudly describes his parents’ journey as “a true immigrant success story.” Born in Pakistan, Shaheen came to America at age 18 after marrying Hammad’s father, Shaikh. As Shaikh worked hard to accomplish his successful civilian career with the Naval Service Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia, Shaheen nurtured a fledgling child care business, enrolling kids in the tiny basement of their Port Tobacco home.
“Mom loved these kids and the childcare business,” Matin shared. “Dad was her biggest cheerleader and encouraged her to do more, so she did.”
Shaheen earned her certificate at CSM to provide child care in 1985 and went on to earn her associate degree in childhood education in 1990 – all the while running her business and raising her family. Next, Shaikh and Shaheen bought a building in La Plata and Little Angels Learning Center quickly grew in square feet and sets of feet with Shaheen caring for up to 100 children a day, including those students moving through Charles County Public School System’s before-and after-care programs.
“She loved every moment of her job,” he continued. “She hardly ever took a vacation. She would be at work every day at 6 a.m. and would stay until closing. She knew every child and considered all of them her babies.
“We would laugh,” he continued, “when we would discover that she was caring for the children of, and sometimes the grandchildren of, some of her first kids.”
Further describing her as “naturally gifted” with children, Matin said babies and children were drawn to her, too. “It was her calling.”
Giving Back to the Community
“We are deeply touched by the Matin’s gift to CSM and our students,” said CSM Vice President of Advocacy and Community Engagement Michelle Goodwin. “Shaheen made so many contributions to our community, and positively influenced so many generations of children. She was indeed loved by all who knew her and we are grateful to help honor her memory and create this legacy.”
Matin said he is certain his mom would be happy about the scholarship and endowment. He said his mother helped several other people set up businesses, even other child care centers.
“If she could help someone else – young or old – to be in the field she loved – loving children like she did – she would,” Matin shared. “The scholarship and endowment will last in perpetuity to help residents live the American dream and love children, just like she did.”
“My siblings and I have been very blessed,” Matin continued, explaining that his parents’ success helped Seema achieve her career with the U.S. State Department as a diplomat in the Foreign Service. Sajjad is a federal prosecutor in Miami, Florida while Matin is the founder and principal defense attorney at the Law Office of Hammad S. Matin, P.A. in La Plata.
“We were able to obtain good educations and pursue our passions thanks to our parents’ fulfilling the American dream,” Matin added. “I was able to go to law school and return home to serve. I am glad to give all I can back to our community.”
Students applying for the Shaheen A. Matin Class of 1990 Memorial Scholarship must be a resident of Calvert, Charles or St. Mary’s counties; possess a high school diploma or equivalent, possess and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA and be enrolled in an early childhood or childcare program. Recipients will be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per semester for six consecutive semesters if they comply with the eligibility requirements and remain in good academic standing.
During 2018, the College of Southern Maryland celebrates its 60th anniversary. Established as part of the continuing expansion of the community college in America, Charles County Junior College opened Sept. 17, 1958. The La Plata Campus was established at its present location in 1968, with college services expanding to St. Mary’s County in 1978 and Calvert County in 1980. For information about the college’s history, visit http://news.csmd.edu/60th/.
Today, CSM is a regionally accredited community college that provides programs and services with a special focus on local workforce development to maintain and grow a healthy economy and community. CSM serves more than 24,000 credit and continuing education students at its campuses located in Hughesville, La Plata, Leonardtown and Prince Frederick, as well as a Higher Education Center shared with University of Maryland University College in Waldorf and a Center for Transportation Training in La Plata. For information about CSM, call 301-934-7765 or visit www.csmd.edu. For information on employment at CSM, visit www.csmd.edu/employment.
For information on scholarships at CSM, visit www.csmd.edu/scholarship.
For information on donating toward scholarships at CSM, visit www.foundation.csmd.edu.