StreetWise Vendor Cynthia Redd found herself homeless after her partner and roommate unexpectedly left town and she was unable to keep up with rent on her own. She’s been able to get back on her feet with the help of StreetWise and the job flexibility that it offers. Now, she has returned to her path of pursuing graduate-level education in order to achieve her specific career goals.
How did you discover StreetWise?
I was homeless and I was walking down the street and ran into a StreetWise vendor. I said, “I need a job” and [he told me about StreetWise]. Many [homeless people] won’t try StreetWise because of fear, but I say, “Well, you’re panhandling, so you’re receiving more “no’s” than you would with selling the magazine. I don’t get it. Do the math.
I understand you have a wide educational background. Tell me about that…
First, I am clergy. I was ordained through the Universal Life Church [through an online program]. It took several months, but then I received my license. I can now perform the sacrament of marriage, I can baptize people, perform Eucharist and also perform funerals. This is a non-denominational church.
I also have a Bachelor’s in information systems from Columbia College. I also used to teach at Columbia part-time. That was a long, long time ago. But they treated it as an internship for me at the time. I taught computer foundations. I also have a Master’s in information systems from Ashford University online and a Paralegal Graduate Certificate in real estate litigation.
I am currently working on my PhD in education and e-learning. I am attending Northcentral University online in order to learn how to facilitate online learning so that I may go into teaching online part-time. I will obtain my certification and then I have to complete a dissertation that’s going to be published. I’m very excited.
Do you have family?
I am divorced and I have two children. My son, C.J., is 24 and my daughter, Cynda (I call her “Bubbles”) will be turning 24 soon. I also have four grandchildren. My daughter has one son and my son has two sons and a daughter.
Why do you like selling StreetWise?
I can do it at my leisure and most of the people that I meet talk to me about their jobs. Some people that buy, like executives, they’re even looking for work, because they’re about to be downsized. [Some of my customers] say, “I might be doing what you’re doing someday, so that’s the reason I’m buying it. So I can check it out!” And I’d like to thank my customers for always supporting me.
What would you say to others to encourage them to come to StreetWise?
Basically, I tell them not to listen to anybody on the street. Come here for yourself. And once you come in, you’ll see the variety of services that we have.
By Brittany Langmeyer