From Student “Walking Zombie” to Successful Teacher
Career Advancement Scholarship to University of South Alabama
[Cynthia Ramos] Cynthia Ramos, a 31 year-old single parent with three kids aged 12, 11 and 4, never wavered in her determination to make it, even while working three part-time jobs, going to school full-time at the University of South Alabama and getting less than four hours of sleep per night. At one time, Ramos worked part-time at a local civic center, had a newspaper route and also had a sporadic job cleaning office buildings at night for about 15 to 20 hours per week when available to provide for her children’s needs. Ramos says during this time she was a “walking zombie” due to the physical and emotional strain, but she was determined to persevere because she knew she had to stay in school to accomplish her goals, for herself and her children.
That’s where Mobile Works came in. Mobile Works awarded Ramos a Career Advancement Scholarship that paid for Ramos’ tuition and books, allowing her to trade her three part-time jobs for one part-time job that was in her future line of work—as a contract-based Health Educator at Crittenton Youth Services, a local youth service organization which partners with the University of South Alabama and the Mobile County Public School System to teach abstinence and the consequences of early sexual involvement to teens and pre-teens, such as sexually-transmitted diseases, pregnancy, HIV, etc., in middle schools and high schools in both Mobile and Baldwin counties
Ramos says that Mobile Works eased her financial strain and the constant pressure, allowing her to focus on her studies, spend more time with her children and get a few more hours of sleep at night. She worked closely with Brenda Bright, her case manager at Mobile Works, throughout her studies. On December 13, 2003, Cynthia Ramos graduated and received a B.A. degree in Human Services through the University of South Alabama’s Department of Adult Interdisciplinary Studies. Upon obtaining this degree, Ramos was able to market herself and gain a full-time position as a Health Educator with Crittenton Youth Services, increasing her pay by nearly 40% from her contract pay. [Cynthia Ramos]
As a Health Educator, Ramos writes the curriculum that she uses to teach teens. Says Ramos, “Being flexible and creative is important when trying to teach these difficult subjects to teens and keep their attention.” As the most experienced instructor, she also trains the other instructors and is helping to write a book about abstinence for teens that Crittenton Youth Services will be publishing soon.
Joy Logan, Executive Director for Crittenton Youth Services, states, “Cynthia absolutely loves children and is a very enthusiastic teacher. The kids relate to her very well and even call her afterwards to talk to her, ask her questions and confide in her. In my opinion, those calls tell everything about her performance. She does a very good job for us and for the children.”
“The assistance that I received from Mobile Works allowed me to finish school,” said Ramos. “My degree has opened up opportunities for me that were shut off before and gave me even more confidence. I would encourage others facing similar situations to look at what Mobile Works can do for them.” Cynthia Ramos still has goals. She intends to pursue her master’s degree and plans to go to the top of her field, to achieve even more career satisfaction as well as increasingly higher salaries. At Mobile Works, we feel confident she’s going to get there.