Hope Bloomed Inside of Me, and Now I’m Always Smiling
“FLY is like family to me. Not my second family—my first family.”
Cindy is the third of nine children, with a father who left before she was born and a mother who worked two and three jobs to keep the family together. Poverty, beatings, drug abuse, and drinking were common when Cindy was growing up. Later the family’s car was repossessed, the water and power were shut off, and they lost their home to foreclosure.
By age 13, Cindy was on probation and “didn’t know what it was to be sober.” Drinking led to court rooms, which lead to continuation schools, which led to juvenile hall. Along this path, Cindy was introduced to FLY and Jason, her case manager, who became a constant in her life. When Cindy ended up in the Hall, Jason was the first person to show up. And when Jason couldn’t make it he would make sure another FLY staff member was in court so Cindy would know she wasn’t alone.
“I started getting the sense of family, the feeling of being loved, cared for, and worried about.”
The cumulative effect of FLY’s presence in Cindy’s life began to take hold. This is her now: FLY alumna and volunteer peer leader, writer and poet, first-generation high school graduate, college student, hard-working employee, and future probation officer. At 18, life is still sometimes challenging for her without her family’s emotional or financial support, but as she says,
“I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without the support of FLY. My family doesn’t do anything at all, but there’s a whole group of people at FLY who will not give up on me. I’m not going to disappoint them!”
This is the full text of Cindy’s poem about hope.
My problem was I didn’t know how…
it was tough and I had no idea…no idea on where to start because I was lost for words and wondered if I had a purpose on this earth…
FLY pulled me out of the dirt, my mentor dragged me off my knees, and with all the support and motivation of the FLY staff surrounding me I was pushed to continue walking, giving up was never an option,
hope began to bloom inside of me, and now I catch myself smiling
hope bloomed inside of me and now I’m always smiling.
“Before FLY I was a hopeless and lost child. And now with FLY’s help I am on my way to becoming a successful adult.” — FLY Youth