Spotlight On: Cynthia Parham

Cynthia Parham Spotlight

For National Homelessness Awareness month, we're honoring one of our first participants in our Transitional Housing services in Shreveport.

In 2010, Cynthia Parham was having a rough patch. Homeless and facing complex emotional issues, she came to Easter Seals from a local shelter. Like many in her situation, she had no income and a lack of community supports. That's when David Bennett, our Project Manager for Behavioral Health, stepped in and brought Cynthia into the Intensive Community Engagement (ICE) program. ICE strives to provide long-term permanent housing based upon the Housing First Model which first provides housing and then wraps services around the client in an effort to support them so they maintain long-term housing.

Through her participation in the program Cynthia was able to secure benefits and gain part-time employment. As the first participant in the ICE program she has helped lead the way for so many who have successfully achieved independence through Easter Seals' services and bring an end to their homelessness. We sat down with Cynthia to find out how she's doing and hear more about her continuing goal to contribute to society in a way that she says she could only dream of for many years.

"Easter Seals helped build me from the ground up. I could not ask for a better group of people."

It's so lovely to speak with you Cynthia. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience working with the case managers from Easter Seals?

They are always there for me to rely on. They help me stay on top of my therapy appointments and medications. They work with me to make sure I don't have too much on my plate and keep me from getting overwhelmed. They are always helpful.

Sounds like you are continuing to have a great experience in the ICE program. 

Oh yes, I'm the longest running participant and it's been so helpful for me. I used to have problems with hoarding and since coming here I've gained security. I don't need all that stuff to feel safe anymore. I didn't have much when I came here either and with the help of The Beard Foundation I was able to furnish my apartment. I've been able to gain some self-worth and feel like I can live more independently now.

That's great! What sort of activities are you doing these days? 

I'm active in the church and I sing in nursing homes. My case managers are very encouraging and help me get to appointments sometimes too.

Sounds like you have a good relationship with the ESL staff. 

It's funny, when I was a little girl in West Monroe I used collect money for Easter Seals. It just goes to show you that what you put out there always comes back to you.      

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