Cynthia was born and raised in Everett Washington. She was born to a hard-working family with two siblings. Cynthia’s father worked out of the state for most of her childhood for a fiberglass company. Her mother worked full-time at a factory when Cynthia was old enough to go to school. Cynthia’s grandmother would watch the children and keep them out of trouble. But being the middle child proved to be difficult for her. Around the age of 9, she found herself taking care of her older brother and younger. After school, she learned to cook food and would cook for both her siblings since her parents had to work late to provide for the family. School was also difficult for Cynthia. As a kid and teenager, she felt restless and trapped when she was in school. It led her to act out in her older years. Although school was rocky, she started working at age 18.

Photo of a woman standing in front of a wood panel wall.

While Cynthia was working she also attended culinary school at a community college. She would move up into a management position at her job and soon after one of her coworkers and she began to become friends. They would go out and became very close with one another. Eventually, they got into a romantic relationship. After about a month they moved in together and a month after that decided to get eloped. Cynthia was nervous about the relationship moving so fast but at the time she felt like he was the one. Not long after they got married Cynthia became pregnant. The pregnancy was hard on her, for the first semester of her pregnancy Cynthia wasn’t able to hold down food or liquids and lost a lot of weight. After the first trimester, her pregnancy became easier and her son was born in March of 2015. She was ecstatic. She went home after her pregnancy and for a while, things went back to normal. Her son started to have some medical and developmental issues. She noticed that he wasn’t developing as fast as his peers. He was having trouble learning and wasn’t speaking. At age four he was diagnosed with Autism. This diagnosis was bittersweet for Cynthia. She finally knew what was going on and was now able to help him but Cynthia’s husband did not take the news well. To cope he started to spend a lot of time away from the house and would drink excessively. This continued until she reached a breaking point. She didn’t want someone unstable to be around her son. Cynthia left her husband in 2019. She worked hard to provide for herself and her son. She worked at a few different fast-food restaurants and would often go into management positions because of her skill. After some time Cynthia met another man who became her partner. They were happy together until she found out that she was pregnant again. When she told her partner that she was pregnant he left. Cynthia was devastated. She didn’t know how she would be able to handle another child, she felt like she was barely making it by with her and her son. Even through her worries, she carried on and continued to put in hard work in all areas of her life. At the time she worked at Mcdonald’s. Once she was farther along in her pregnancy she asked to have some accommodation since it wasn’t good for her to be lifting heavy boxes and doing strenuous activities. To her surprise and disappointment, she was still expected to move heavy items and push herself physically no matter what. At home, her pregnancy was extremely difficult. Throughout the entire pregnancy, Cynthia was unable to eat or drink without it coming back up. She had to see doctors regularly and had to be put on medication to be able to eat food and drink water. With all of her circumstances combined Cynthia felt hurt and exhausted. In February 2021 she gave birth to her daughter. She had three months of maternity leave and had some time to recoup before having to get back to work. She still didn’t have help from her child’s father which hurt, but she was feeling motivated again. Cynthia would have a little more financial support coming in and felt like she would be able to balance having two children.

Cynthia ended up going back to work early to be able to provide for her and her children’s futures. In the fall of 2021, her son came down with a series of severe illnesses that led him to be in and out of the hospital for a few months. Life became chaotic for Cynthia. She never knew when she would get a call that her son needed to go back to the hospital. Her son’s father wasn’t reliable and it was Cynthia who stayed with her son while he was in the hospital. She would have to call out of work for days at a time, knowing that she still needed to provide for her children. The doctors weren’t sure what was going on with her son and her family wasn’t very supportive of Cynthia while they went through this. Cynthia was exhausted. The doctors had no answers and her sense of security was faltering. After a few months, the doctors finally had a diagnosis. Her son was diagnosed with Nephrotic syndrome. Cynthia was relieved that they finally had answers. She was able to set up a care plan with the doctors to help her control her son’s flare-ups. Although she felt a sense of relief, many parts of her lifestyle and routines with her children had to change. She has to monitor the amount of salt that her son ingests daily and she needs a work schedule that is flexible to accommodate all of the doctor’s appointments she needs to attend. While looking for work that had a flexible schedule she came across our training program. She chose Kindred Kitchen to learn more about a functional kitchen operates. Her biggest goal is to own her own restaurant with her parents. Cynthia has a passion for cooking and was able to sharpen her kitchen skills working with Brandon. Activities like learning to write recipes are important if she were to open her own business. The training program was able to support her through this challenging part of her life.

Cynthia is active in her community as well, she works with nonprofits to cook meals for people who don’t have food. Cynthia works hard to provide the proper care for her son and daughter throughout all of the hardships they have faced together. Cynthia has graduated and since she was in our program she was able to get connected with Boeing to work as a cook at their facility. She is currently waiting for her badge to be made and accepted. Cynthia is a knowledgeable and determined person who is a role model of what strength is. HopeWorks is happy to help her get toward the next steps in her path.