Cindy is getting stronger, becoming a better person at the mission

Cindy was born in Colombia, but came to the United States with her mom and stepdad when she was 9. Their relationship ended, though, and Cindy was raised by a single mother. “Everything changed,” she said. “After that, I wasn’t really focusing in school. At the time, I didn’t really think it was that important. I focused on guys and relationships, and I shouldn’t have been.”

Cindy didn’t finish high school, but started working when she got her DACA documents. “I was still living with my mom, and she was getting upset,” Cindy said. “She wanted me to finish school. She wanted me to do something with my life. I didn’t see it like that, and I was so angry.”

Cindy said she thinks her anger stems from her and her mother’s relationship. “I think it was because I thought my mom didn’t love me,” Cindy said. “She was always telling me I wasn’t going to do anything in life, that I was going to be nothing. It was all of this negative talk. That’s one the reasons I pushed myself into relationships. I realize now that wasn’t the right thing to do. I don’t blame her but it does upset me a little bit.”

Cindy said her mom did not want to enable her children, and that the tough love was difficult. Three years ago, Cindy and her younger brother were living with their mom, as was Cindy’s sister and her children. “My mom told all of us that we had to move out of the house, that we couldn’t be with her anymore,” Cindy said. “She wanted me to be strong and independent. She didn’t want to be the kind of mother who enabled us. I didn’t take it lightly. I was very upset. I told her I didn’t know what I was going to do. She said to leave or she’d throw all of my stuff into the street.”

Cindy moved in with a friend, and a relationship developed. “It was more out of the loneliness we felt than love,” she said. Eventually the relationship soured, and Cindy’s boyfriend’s mom, who also lived there, asked her to leave. “We were arguing and it wasn’t a good situation anymore. I didn’t have a chance to find a room because she wanted me out right away. I was work, feeling so anxious. I just didn’t know what to do.”

A coworker told Cindy about the Mission. “I didn’t want to do it—I was scared,” she said. “But my friend asked, ‘Where else are you going to go?’ I was in the streets. I was looking through my phone, just crying, worrying, wondering who I could call.”

Cindy has been at the Mission since February. “It was tough at first,” Cindy admitted. “I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like following rules. But it taught me a lot—how to change, how to appreciate things, how to be a better person. I wanted to leave at first, but I became friends with one of the ladies, and she calmed me down. She told me, ‘You’re going to be fine, they can help you. Give them an opportunity—this is a good place. Little by little, I started to grow.”

Cindy said some of the ladies at the Mission, as well as the staff, helped her too. “They talk to me and are there for me,” she said. “They are keeping me strong.”

Cindy has worked at Vons for three years, and is finishing her high school diploma now. She is also focusing on staying healthy, as an autoimmune disorder can often have an impact on her. “It’s a serious thing, and I can get very dizzy and tired, but this condition has also made me strong. I keep pushing forward. I’m not the only person that has something like this. Many people in this world are suffering. We all go through things. Thank God, we have God. That’s our hope. If we have full faith in God, everything is going to be OK.”