September 12, 2014

RAYS Announces The Cynthia A. Green Family Center

The Skyway area has never been so thankful for its hilltop setting as enough tears flowed this past Saturday to precipitate a flood of biblical proportions when the community honored one of its matriarchs in a rousing building dedication ceremony. Cynthia Green, a 69 year old retiree, spent most of the afternoon unsuccessfully fighting back tears as the building that served as her workplace for almost 20 years was designated the Cynthia A. Green Family Center.

Cynthia Green with Rich Brooks, Executive Director of RAYS and Ms. Carolyn Parnell, RAYS Board President

Cynthia Green (center) with Rich Brooks, Executive Director of RAYS and Carolyn Parnell, RAYS Board President

“She is the most loving, caring person I’ve ever met. She is the most selfless person I’ve ever been around!” gushed Harriett Moore.

Green’s days at The Center rarely conformed to a 9-5 schedule as she spent long hours graciously assisting members of the Skyway community in everything from fighting home evictions, to securing enough money to keep utilities on, to providing food for those who had none- many times sharing her own lunch with those who came to The Center starving- to providing a pillar of strength in the midst of personal tragedy.

“Cynthia was your best friend. Your shoulder to cry on. The person who lifted you up when you had a bad day. She just brought out the best in everyone who came into contact with her. Everyone in Skyway just loves her,” shared Sherry Dione, a daily visitor to The Center.

The celebration’s group of organizers included a myriad of friends, associates, and co-workers who Green had amassed during her time at The Center.The event featured the reading of an original poem written for the occasion by award winning poet Peggy Williams, a performance from Seattle R&B sensation Shaprece, a proclamation by King County Council member Larry Gossett, that declared it Cynthia Anne Green Day across the county, and frequent eruptions of applause as what seemed like an endless procession of speakers shared what Green personally meant to them, almost took place without its guest of honor in attendance.

Cynthia and her husband Phillip

Cynthia and her husband Phillip listen to a community memeber speak at the dedication

“I really didn’t want them to make a fuss over me. There are so many people that need help in the community that I thought they should just give any money they were going to spend on me to them,” said Green. “Up until about an hour before the ceremony I was certain that I wasn’t going, but my husband convinced me that the community really wanted me to be there, and I’d be letting them down if I didn’t attend.”

In addition to the renaming of the building, they founded the Cynthia A. Green Scholarship Fund that will aide families within the community in meeting their basic needs and will be managed by Renton Area Youth and Family Services, the local organization that continues to operate The Center.

“I’m utterly shocked,” an overwhelmed Green said through tears as she reflected on the day’s events. “I just thought that people would get up and say a few things about me. I had no idea that they were going to name the building after me and start a fund in my name. I…I can’t believe all of this is happening!”

Although it had been months since the honoree had stepped foot into the building that now bears her name, her impact and legacy within the community surely would have endured even without her names inscription on one of Skyway’s oldest buildings.

“There’s not a day that someone doesn’t come here asking for Cynthia. There isn’t a day that someone doesn’t tell a story about her or recount a memory about what she did for them,” recounted Cynthia A Green Family Center Director, Morgan Wells.

Ginney Ross, a member of the group that Green founded at the center to help support grandparent’s who were sole guardians of their grandchildren: “She always had this smile on her face that forced you to smile back, no matter how horrible your day had been, and she always has a solution to your problem. We know that there are angels on earth because of people like Cynthia.”

Read the full story in the South Seattle Emerald.
Disclosure: The writer of this article is the proud son of Cynthia Green