“I first came to the Café for Christmas dinner three years ago,” Cindy says. “Somebody gave me their bingo prize. It was exciting!” Cindy has short, fair hair, a natural earnestness, and a Golden State Warriors lanyard around her neck. “I do a lot of Warriors watching,” she continues. “And 49ers. And A’s.” She gives a fan’s fist pump in the air.
“I’m at the Café almost every day. I have lunch and take classes. I’ve done Cooking with Doug and Feelings Check-In with Diana.” She ticks the classes off on her fingers. “I’ve also done Mindful Meditation, Creative Writing, and Yoga.” She holds up the five fingers and beams. “I’ve loved all of them.”
A few years ago, Cindy was featured on a Channel 2 news segment about the Peer PALS program at the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Santa Clara County (NAMI). Her PAL Hope was an important sounding board for Cindy, but the program was only for 6 months. Being at the Café has given Cindy ongoing community and a place to belong.
“Everyone here is nice,” Cindy says. “They’re supportive, very caring, and not judgmental.” She pauses and looks slowly around the room, all kinds of people gathered around tables drinking coffee and talking quietly. “The Café has taught me not to be chicken. To just show who I am.”
Article by Cindy McCalmont