Jane Cave

A year of living on the streets of Washington, D.C. left Cynthia Mewborn traumatized and exhausted, but did not break her spirit.

During her time experiencing homelessness, Mewborn faced numerous hardships, but remained determined to improve her conditions. As a result of her time living on the streets, Mewborn developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)—a condition that she says she will have to live with for the rest of her life.

“It was the grace of God that got me through. I said my prayers every day when I was homeless and had miracles happen,” said Mewborn. “I had this one kid paint me a beautiful picture, and when he gave it to me, he told me I had a contagious smile.”

Mewborn came to Street Sense in 2013 eager and open to experience all that the opportunity had to offer. She began by selling editions of the paper, and continues to do so today. Now a year beyond her spell of homelessness, she recognizes that the classes and programs offered at Street Sense, such as its theatre workshop, have been the most invaluable to her.

“When you are homeless, you lose all of your energy. You are always on the move and don’t get a chance to really rest,” Mewborn said. “The stability and routine of classes really helped me. They helped me when I was homeless, and still help me now.”

Though Mewborn is thankful for her involvement with Street Sense, she is already seeing her life progressing on to new endeavors. Her faith in God and her love of science are two things driving her forward. Mewborn plans to continue writing, and one day hopes to publish a spiritual book, and possibly some scientific writing after that.

Advocating for homeless people is also something Mewborn is considering for her future. Though still in the process of returning to what she considers a normal life, Mewborn thinks she may want to be an advocate for the senior homeless population one day.

“What most [people experiencing homelessness] want to do is get back to work. We want to have normal lives,” Mewborn said. “But it isn’t easy coming back from homelessness to lead a normal life. It takes time.”

Cynthia will be premiering a documentary she directed about her experience with homelessness at E Street Cinema on August 26. Learn more at StreetSense.org/film.