Cynthia Crouch: Gratitude Speech at Spring Brunch
Meet Cynthia Crouch, Former JFS Orlando Family Stabilization Program Participant. Here is what she had to share about the program and JFS Orlando at the Annual Spring Brunch:
The Family Stabilization Program catapulted my growth exponentially.
Things felt impossible, I was a single mother experiencing life on my own for the very first time. My self-esteem was destroyed, and I felt inadequate. I didn’t know how to live on my own, balance a check book, and I had little confidence; after all this was the first time in my life that no one was telling me what to do, or how to do it. A persistent voice in my head saying, “your worthless- you’re nothing without me.” “You will never make it on your own.” “You want to leave-go…but not with my children.”
16-years marriage ended. I was broken and I was terrified. I did not know how to support myself and I couldn’t fathom how I would possibly take care of my children. I was struggling, and I went to bed many nights hungry. I found a job as a receptionist working full-time for minimum wage and started attending college classes in the evening. I remember lying in bed at night crying and praying to a God “please help me.”
I would see Jewish Family Services’ staff set up in a vacant office once a week at my place of employment, and that is how I found out about the program. I began to wonder if I qualified for the Family Stabilization Program. One day I went in, humbly and honestly explained my situation and prayers were answered. I qualified for the program! It was so much more than I could have imagined. I didn’t know it then but this assistance would catapult my life, my career, and growth as a mother, and woman exponentially. I became hopeful and began to believe that I worth much more than I gave myself credit for.
I found a small apartment and FSP provided the first month’s rent and utility deposit along with food assistance and budgeting workshops that taught me how to live within my means and helped me establish credit. These workshops are still in use in my life today. I was able to stay in school. I earned my Associate’s degree, went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rollins College, and received my credentials as Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). The encouragement, the hand up, the compassion, the life skills… helped me believe in myself, in my darkest hours.
Presently I a second year graduate student working towards the credentials Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), but more importantly I am a positive role model for my children. I am a strong, compassionate woman. I am a survivor, no longer a victim. Thank you, Jewish Family Services, for empowering me to empower myself. I love who I have become and I love that I get to pay it forward every day in the community through my profession.
Thank all of you who are here today for supporting this agency.