Cindy’s Story

Cindy’s comfortable, some might say luxurious, lifestyle came to a screeching halt when her husband’s business failed. She was blamed when illegal business activity was discovered and spent a night in jail. The life of private schools for her children and self-indulgence was over. The failed business and problems with the law didn’t leave them with any money. Cindy and her children came to HEARTH, where she was able to go back to school to get re-certified in nursing. She has since gone on to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees also.

Cindy’s husband owned his own business but when times got tough he left some of the accounting work to her, including writing checks. Cindy had been a registered nurse (R.N.) 16 years ago but had given it up to raise her children. She was not qualified to do accounting work but was loyal to her husband and wanted to help in any way she could. She was unaware that the checks she was writing were fraudulent. Eventually, it was discovered, and Cindy was arrested, spending 18 hours in jail.

She left her husband and moved herself and her four children in with her parents. Her world felt like it was crashing around her. The crowded, uncomfortable space at her parent’s made Cindy realize she needed a fresh start. After her divorce was finalized, her sister’s friend recommended HEARTH. She knew this was the opportunity of a lifetime and called immediately. Cindy entered the program in 1997. She brought three of her children with her to Benedictine Place.

Benedictine Place was an adjustment for Cindy and her children. Her kids were now enrolled in a public school and no longer had luxuries like long vacations and big shopping trips. “HEARTH taught me how to be humble,” said Cindy.

Cindy decided she wanted to get back into the field of nursing. While at HEARTH she enrolled in a RN refresher course at Community College of Allegheny County and worked as a nurses’ aid at Windsor Place, an assisted living facility.

She finished her RN refresher course in December 1997 and left Benedictine Place in early 1998. Because of HEARTH’s support and her employment as a floor nurse she felt ready to leave. Cindy moved in to a townhouse in the North Hills and continued working at Windsor Place.

“Making ends meet and being a single mother were the hardest parts of being independent,” says Cindy. HEARTH helped her get the right foundation to succeed on her own.

Cindy is now working as a nurse for Kane Regional Centers of Allegheny County and has her master’s degree in nursing. She remarried in 2004 and resides in the North Hills with her husband. Her children went to college and are working now. Cindy is very proud of their independence and success in their chosen careers.

“I’m most proud of mine and my children’s educational successes.” Cindy hopes that her children take away independence and strength from her experience. She wouldn’t want them to take anything for granted. She feels that life is wonderful and looks forward to continuing her work.

“I don’t know where I would be without HEARTH. Once I came there everything fell right into place.”