CAAP Resources for Success Stories
Cynthia Salcedo and her boyfriend came to the United States in 2008 from the Dominican Republic. They married, and Cynthia gave birth to their daughter, Chelsea. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, Cynthia’s husband was deported back to the Dominican Republic, leaving Cynthia living alone and unable to keep up with her rent and bills.
Cynthia and her daughter moved in with her father, living in an unfinished basement. Cynthia was trying to better her life by finding employment, but her daughter Chelsea had severe gastro-intestinal issues. This forced Cynthia to miss work, especially when Chelsea landed in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for a month. Cynthia attempted to go back to college but could not find childcare that was able to give her daughter the level of care needed.
Cynthia became very depressed and suffered great anxiety during this time. She knew she had to get herself and her daughter out of this situation. Determined to go back to school, she enrolled at Northampton Community College (NCC) in 2014. She also enrolled in the KEYS program at the college. KEYS (Keystone Education Yields Success) is designed to assist students who receive TANF and SNAP support in their pursuit of post-secondary education. It was there that she learned about the Ferry Street Apartments, an intensive transitional housing and educational/vocational program that helps homeless families achieve their educational goals, become more self-sufficient, and improve their situation though case management, financial assistance, and other services.
Cynthia interviewed with Roslyn, Counselor at Ferry Street, and was accepted into the program. Cynthia was able to receive childcare through the KEYS program right at NCC, so she could go feed Chelsea and manage her gastro-intestinal issues directly. She also went to therapy at the encouragement of her Ferry Street Counselor. Cynthia says her Counselor, Roslyn, and KEYS coordinator, Penny, were like her cheerleaders by always encouraging her not to give up and helping her with problem-solving skills. Roslyn says, “Cynthia was a very hard-working young woman. She never gave up. She would go to the learning center and write her papers repeatedly. It was wonderful to see how her grades went up as her self- confidence grew.”
Cynthia graduated from NCC and was accepted into Kutztown University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology. Cynthia was most proud of becoming an A-student and receiving several scholarships. Cynthia is now employed full-time as a substance abuse counselor. Her starting salary “incomed” her off all government assistance. Cynthia and her daughter now live in their own apartment. Cynthia’s daughter is thriving in school, and Cynthia is looking forward to pursuing a master’s degree in forensic psychology. Cynthia thanks Community Action because “it provided the foundation of my success and led me to a path towards a better life.”