Vilmarys is a graduate of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program that we operated in partnership with Lynn Housing Authority in Massachusetts. We invited her to share about her experience in the program at our Lynn Graduation in November, 2016. Read the full text of her remarks below.

Hello. I’m Vilmarys Cintron, and it’s an honor to be here today. I want to tell you a little bit about my experience at Compass and how they helped me achieve two of my biggest dreams – dream I never thought that I, a poor single mother living in subsidized housing, could reach. 

I lived in Curwin Circle for almost 20 years – first, as a child with my mom and siblings, then in my own place with my two beautiful daughters. Although it was a great place to live, I wanted something different for my children. I worked hard to try to give them a better life and looked for opportunities to help me get ahead. I attended many programs and workshops held in the community that advertised opportunities to progress, but none of them did anything for me. I didn’t know what to do with the information provided or how to go about applying these things to my situation. I felt stuck. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I didn’t make any progress. That all changed when I joined the Compass FSS Program in Lynn!


Compass was different. From the first time I walked into the office for an orientation to every individual meeting I had with my coaches, they truly believed in me. I felt inspired, supported, and encouraged. I looked forward to coaching sessions. I would see how my credit score was increasing and together with my coach, we would come up with new action steps that would get me closer to reaching my goals. I learned to budget, to look for opportunities to save, I learned all about credit, and most importantly, I learned I could set any goal and take small steps to reach them. What I have learned at Compass, I will take with me for the rest of my life and I have been able to pass it on to my daughters and to my sisters. 


With Compass’s guidance, I was able do the impossible. I was able to reach two big dreams. It was hard work to cut down on my spending, pay off debt, save money, and fix my credit, but thanks to them for believing in me and being there every step of the way, I was able to buy my own home and open my own business. I am now the proud owner of a single-family house in Lynn with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and I run my own daycare business from home, which has grown from a six to ten-child license and having an assistant.

I am grateful to Compass, and I can’t help to feel proud of myself. I bought my home in 2014 and I still get up every morning, look around and think “Oh my God, I have my own place! I can’t believe it”.

My advice to others is to never give up on your dreams and search for great programs and opportunities like Compass.


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