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Cyndi Fuller with her husband, Rob[/caption]
Seven years ago, Cyndi Fuller began volunteering at PCHAS when she was a social work student as an intern in the intake department. She never dreamed that one day she would work as PCHAS’ Single Parent Family Coordinator in Waxahachie, a job that she dearly loves.
She is extremely passionate about PCHAS’ Single Parent Family Program, which provides housing for mothers who are in crisis. PCHAS provides a place for the moms and their children to live while the moms work to become self-sufficient. “The program serves as a stepping stone to getting families back on their feet,” Cyndi said. “The typical stay for families is 12 to 18 months, but they are allowed to stay longer if need be.”
Half of the moms Cyndi works with were, at one time, as she says, “living the American Dream. They were stay-at-home moms living with a working husband who paid the bills, and the future looked bright. But then the father left the family either by choice, death or prison. With no husband to help support the family, the mom is often saddled with bills she can’t pay and she can’t afford to support her family on her own,” said Cyndi.
When families first join the program, the mom is encouraged to make every effort to find a job within six weeks. “This job is not typically the same one they leave with;” says Cyndi, “but it provides training and helps them in other ways too: they are taking small steps toward becoming economically stable.” With the help of temp agencies, Cyndi helps the moms find jobs. Many become Certified Nurse’s Assistants (CNAs) because the training is only six weeks long and it is one of the programs PCHAS helps pay for.
Cyndi is assisted by many volunteers, including her husband, Rob, who is a teacher who holds a Master’s degree in history. Rob teaches at Ovilla Christian School, and in his free time tutors at PCHAS. Cyndi returns the favor by volunteering at the school.
Volunteers are integral to the Single Parent Family Program, and are especially active during holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mother’s Day. They throw festive Thanksgiving, Christmas and back-to-school parties, provide gifts for Mother’s Day, and this year, they created “birthday boxes” for every child. The boxes contain with all the essentials needed for a festive birthday party.
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Longtime PCHAS volunteer Arlene Hamilton teaches kids about nutrition[/caption]
The Single Parent Family Program and its volunteers are a Godsend to the mothers and children that are going through rough times and are trying to get back on their feet. “And,” says Cyndi, “I don’t know what we’d do without long-time volunteer Arlene Hamilton, Waxahachie’s Central Presbyterian Women’s Church, Avenue Church of Waxahachie and the many other volunteers who help our moms and their children.”
By Alyssa Rueter