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Individual Success Story

Cindy

“If not for Fresh Start, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t want to know what I’d be. It saved his life, it saved my life. I love Fresh Start.”

She’s Hired!

“Thanks to Fresh Start my life, and my son’s life changed. They connected me with the right services and it’s never too late. Just get help.  Don’t be afraid. It’s never too late to change your life.” 

Cindy* first arrived at Fresh Start 10 years ago at her mother’s suggestion. Her mother was a client at Fresh Start and knew she’d find the resources she needed. Cindy didn’t realize it at the time, but she was in an abusive relationship. Her partner abused her mentally, physically, and financially. He had near complete control and ownership of Cindy throughout the relationship. 

She took the initiative to get involved with Fresh Start and when asked which services she utilized, she laughed and said, “Which haven’t I?” 

Cindy participated in counseling services, success coaching with the social work team, impact trauma workshops, JumpStart, and support groups for women in domestic violence. She also took advantage of Fresh Start’s Grow with Google: Data Analytics program, which helped land her a job with Amazon. She then completed the Google Project Management Certificate as well. Cindy was on her path to self-sufficiency with the help of Fresh Start.  

But her life really changed in 2019 when she found out she was pregnant with her son and the relationship with the father of her child ended. She quickly and unexpectedly became a single parent.  

“I didn’t have my stuff together and I didn’t really have the support I thought I’d have. It was really challenging. I was on my own for everything. So that’s when I came back to Fresh Start,” she remembered. 

Cindy’s challenges continued, and she felt her life was torn apart after getting laid off from her job with Amazon during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“I just thought, ‘What am I going to do? How am I going to support my child?’ I had to wake up and be like, ‘Okay, this is time to figure it out,’” she said. 

Cindy received a marketing email from Fresh Start that advertised the upcoming Women in Finance cohort. At first, she was a little hesitant because it meant committing to another career change, and she had recently changed fields with her Amazon position in IT and data analytics. But she knew she needed to take steps forward to find stability in her future – and quickly. She applied and was accepted into the cohort starting in January 2024.  

Before the Women in Finance cohort, Cindy had the impression that she wasn’t smart enough to be in banking, so she had never really thought about starting a career within a financial institution. One of her favorite days in the cohort was the day they were shown all the possible positions within a financial institution.  

“I had a nasty, negative judgment on finance because I assumed you had to be smart; you must come from a prestigious background, you have to know somebody to get in these banks,” she said. “I’m not Caucasian, I’m a minority, I’m a woman. You mean I can do this? That’s what got me excited and then my goals changed, like maybe I don’t want to go back to Amazon.  My goals are different now and because of going through the program, my perspective has really changed.” 

The road, even in the eight-week course, wasn’t easy for Cindy. Life was happening all around her, and she had to make a conscious effort to prioritize the class as a single parent who couldn’t afford full-time childcare. She found it was challenging to be open-minded and to hold herself accountable to the commitment and she asked herself, ‘Is this really going to get me where I want to go?’ 

“I feel really good here. I feel positive. I feel like I can do something out of this. And I am so grateful I stuck it out. It’s literally already changing my life and we haven’t even graduated; this is our last day and it’s already changing,” she said. 

Cindy expressed that her family, aside from her grandparents and sisters, don’t believe in her. Throughout the course, she worked on self-confidence and holding onto her newfound community and sisterhood within the Women in Finance cohort.  

“Out of all the schools, the trade schools, the programs I’ve done, I’ve never been in a cohort ever like this. These women are so inspirational. And they’re so supportive. I just wish people would understand that it’s one of a kind. I’ve only found this once,” she said.  

One of Cindy’s proudest moments, other than giving birth to her son and being a mom, was when she finally got help. She remembered a specific moment when she was breaking down and thinking, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t be a single parent and I can’t raise him by myself,’ and her son came to her and hugged her. In that moment she knew she needed to change and create a better life for her and her son. 

“If not for Fresh Start, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t want to know what I’d be. It saved my son’s life; it saved my life,” she said. “I love Fresh Start. They don’t just save women’s lives, they save children. It’s healing. It’s not just about having a job or going through this program, preparing you for your career, it’s like, are you emotionally and mentally ready to be able to handle this career? That level of readiness must come into consideration. You must be honest with yourself. That is the hard part, being honest with yourself. But once you do, the truth will set you free. Stop being who they—society, your family—want you to be. Be who you want to be. You don’t have to be the way you are. If you want, change it.” 

She’s Hired! 

Cindy received several job offers and was able to choose the one that allowed her to work remotely from home. She is now a Data Analyst with eBacon. Her employer has allowed her some flex time so she may continue to upskill through an advanced finance course at Fresh Start.  Cindy is now studying and preparing for her Securities Industry Essential (SIE) exam. She’s studying with a new cohort of women at Fresh Start who are also expanding their knowledge in the financial securities industry. Cindy expects to advance her career once she completes and passes the FINRA exam. The sky is the limit!