49-year old Cynthia Baker loves to work. She cannot remember a time when she didn’t. Wherever she’s lived, she’s worked. She worked as a young, single mother in Michigan. As a married woman in New York. And as a divorced mother of 4 in Maryland. There were some jobs she loved. Those were the ones that paid well, had good benefits, recognized her hard work, and gave her added responsibilities and promotions. Others were less fulfilling but helped Cynthia contribute to the family budget so she was grateful to have them.
She met and married her husband in Michigan while he was stationed in the Coast Guard there. When he was later transferred to the base on Governor’s Island, New York, he moved Cynthia and her kids with him and together they raised the kids as their own. Cynthia loved base life on Governor’s Island. It was a great place to bring up her children and the Coast Guard community was tight knit. While there, Cynthia worked several jobs including a front desk job in the commissary and others. Eventually, her husband was transferred to Maryland but was not assigned to a base. Instead, they moved into a house in Glen Burnie. It was a bit of an adjustment for Cynthia who had grown to love the stimulation of base life. To be honest, she found Glen Burnie boring. All the more reason to find employment as soon as possible. After looking for quite some time with no luck, Cynthia was finally offered a great job. It was a government job that came with a 5-year contract. There was just one problem. It was back in New York. After much discussion with her husband and children, she took the job. She lived with a friend in Brooklyn during the week and commuted back to Maryland to see her husband and kids on the weekends. According to Cynthia, the salary made the sacrifice worth it. When that contract was up, she moved back to Maryland. As time went by, Cynthia saw her children grow up and – unfortunately – her marriage dissolve. Her three oldest children graduated, got married, and moved out. Today, Cynthia lives with her youngest daughter in Baltimore. Through all the transitions, one thing remained constant. That is Cynthia’s desire to work. Over the years she has worked as a material handler in a warehouse, in customer service, and in retail. Cynthia is good at whatever she does and while she enjoyed each job, none led to a career.
When Cynthia first heard about it she was very excited. It sounded like just the thing for her. She was so excited, in fact, that she stuck post-it notes throughout the house reminding her to apply on line the minute the process for a new class began. When the letter from Caroline Center arrived, she was scared to open it; afraid she might not have been accepted. She needn’t have been. Cynthia was a shoo-in and today she is a member of the 54th class of Caroline Center.
“This is something very new for me,” Cynthia explained. “It’s challenging and hard and a little scary.” It’s not the hard work that scares Cynthia. Hard work has never scared her.
“I just don’t want to fail…” Cynthia confesses. It is a highly unlikely scenario given Cynthia’s work ethic and determination and given the total and complete support that Caroline Center provides. As of this writing, she is at the halfway point in the course and doing well.
“I’m so used to work. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t. But now, I’m going to work at something that will make a real difference in someone’s life. I find that idea extremely rewarding.”
My guess is, Cynthia will be very successful as a CNA and may one day go on to become a nurse. That’s my guess. One thing is for certain though. Wherever Cynthia ends up…she will be the hardest working person in the place.
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