needy children

Leaving a Fingerprint-Cindy Barry

In 2006, Cindy Barry was hired as a Parent Support Specialist in Round Rock ISD. She was hired to build a bridge between home and school; locate invisible parents and educate them, empower them to get involved in their children's education.Through her work she discovered  a homeless population people weren't aware of. A boy sleeping on a bench by a local hamburger stand while another missed school for a week because he didn't have a pair of tennis shoes to wear to PE. Then there are the "couch hoppers." Kids who crash  in the living rooms of  friends because they don't have anywhere else to go.

Cindy  uncovered the reasons students missed school. Hungry and homeless students hide their secrets,ashamed for people to know their circumstances. This petite woman with a giant heart began to feed them before they headed for class and that small act of kindness proved she was trustworthy. Once the trust was established,the students began pouring out their stories and Cindy began to catch their tears; the tears that fueled an engine that has run nonstop for six years.

She started out by asking her neighbors to help her out with a little pocket change so she could keep a stash of  granola bars in her office but the more stories she heard, the more resources she needed.

Cindy has facilitated  job interviews, medical appointments, and clothing donations for hundreds of students. She and her crew of volunteers have helped students move into their own place and taught them the discipline of budgeting.

On June 1, 2011 budget cuts  ended her position with the school district.

I had built relationships with kids and their families. I couldn't let the absence of a paycheck keep me from helping them. I wasn't willing to disappear.I couldn't let them down.

For almost a year, Cindy has continued to run her program without funding. Instead of an office at the high school, her garage is now a warehouse for gently used clothing, backpacks and toiletries. This single mother of four remains prepared to meet the need when her cell phone rings and she says she receives phone calls daily about students in crisis. In turn, she calls on people  in the community  that are willing to help when they know the need.

While at the gas pump, a young man recently approached her. "You probably don't remember me but a  few years ago, you gave me a pair of shoes.You paid attention to me that day. No one thought I'd finish high school but I did  and now I'm getting my Associates degree."

Cindy is leaving her Fingerprint in the Round Rock, Texas community.  To donate money, gently used clothes, blankets,backpacks,  toiletries or to invite Cindy to speak  to your club or organization, email her @

Lord, Bless My Holiday Stress

Most of us love being generous with others and connecting with friends and family at holiday festivities, but there is fact that cannot be denied. Holiday fun is connected to the stress of busy schedules and endless opportunities to help the less fortunate. I love living in a community that is so others oriented. In the last twenty-four hours I’ve been invited to to feed the poor, buy coats and shoes for those without and donate toys to needy children, and Christmas is still four weeks away!!! However, my question is, “How do I show love to others AND manage my time, money and energy responsibly?” Holiday demands can do one of two things: 1) squeeze the life out of you or 2) squeeze life from you. I know I’m not the only woman that has run herself into the ground with busyness and counted down the days until the holidays are all over, but I’m learning some things I’d like to share.

  • The weight of the world in NOT on your shoulders. –Spend a little time analyzing the needs in your community. Decide what and where you’ll give and be at PEACE!! Your gift will go farther and have a long-lasting effect when the motivation behind it is joy and not pressure.
  • The world won’t come to an end if you STOP and take a break.-Do the unexpected and give yourself a moment of refreshment. Put your pjs on at 5 in the afternoon, let the kids have popcorn for dinner or skip washing the sheets, just once. (If you bathe before bedtime, they’re not really dirty anyway.)
  • NO is not a curse word!!-Saying no doesn’t mean, “I don’t love you” or “You’re not important.” In the right context, it means, “I realize I’m only flesh and bones and I’m going to be smart enough to take care of this flesh.”

When holidays, needy loved ones or career goals pressure us to give from an empty tank, life is siphoned from us and we end up empty-handed for the “life assignments” that do belong to us. Recognizing our limitations isn’t weakness. It’s smart, it’s mature and it’s freeing!!

There’s a fruity cliché that says, “When life give you lemons, make lemonade.” I've decided I want my life to be like a plump, juicy orange and therefore am initiating my own fruity expression...

”Freshly Squeezed-Giving Life!”