Cindy Ross, FCLF Community Development Loan Officer, is mentoring homeless youth through a program in Hillsborough County – Starting Right, Now.
Cindy Ross joined the Florida Community Loan Fund in 1996, and was FCLF's first full-time employee. Since that time she has worked with over 100 borrowers and loans to help FCLF meet our mission of transforming lives and communities throughout Florida.
Ms. Ross is involved in her community as well, continuing to bring about change through her volunteer positions. One of those is with Starting Right, Now, as a mentor. To learn more about this mentoring experience, go the Starting Right, Now Mentor webpage and then click on Cindy's photo.
Thank you, Cindy, for your dedication to Florida's underserved populations.
Additional information from the Starting Right, Now website:
With over 3,000 homeless students accounted for last year in Hillsborough County alone, you may know someone who is silently battling the cycle of homelessness, and don’t even realize it. Starting Right, Now is a program meeting the needs of the growing population of homeless families and children in Hillsborough County. We intervene in a uniquely holistic way for our clients. We create an individualized program for each family or youth. We expose our students to everything in the community. We take them to tour college campuses or vocational programs, fill out the applications, complete the essays and even help with their financial aid and scholarships.
We intercede at a critical juncture in a child's life, breaking the generational cycle of poverty. Unlike other agencies, we provide a deep, holistic and personal approach to end homelessness one family, one child, at a time. We are not a hand-out, we are not a band-aid. We cure homelessness, achieving remarkable results.
When a student joins the program, they are paired with a mentor who was carefully selected to help the student succeed, based on the students' personality and needs. The mentor teaches the student social and life skills, financial literacy, and becomes their advocate at school and within the community.The mentors become a trusting confidante to our students, building relationships that last a lifetime. For maybe the first time in their lives, the students feel stable.
The results are nothing short of spectacular. Not only do the students obtain the skills needed to succeed and end the cycle of homelessness, but they gain a lifelong relationship with someone who truly cares about them.