I am a bilingual school psychologist living in the United States.

Part of my personal story includes harnessing the power of the internet as an online marketplace in order to help to financially support my family.......

By tapping into my computer and graphic design skills I created an online store and embarked on a journey of small business ownership.  My (very small!) businesses focused on celebrating international adoption and embracing multicultural families.  The impetus to start my company was the desire to fill a unique void that I discovered as a new parent......I wanted my daughter to have personal items bearing her Chinese name and I wanted her siblings and cousins to become more familiar with the Chinese language.  I began by producing baby products embroidered with Chinese characters and then expanded to embroidering Chinese character items for family members.  Eventually, in response to requests for an increased variety of products, I began working with another online retailer that could provide screen-printed products using Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and English language multicultural family focused designs that I had created.

My online business ventures helped to lessen the financial strain of raising a family on one income. Once my children were of school age, however, I returned to my career as a school psychologist and have since then been unable to continue to focus on these ventures.  Nonetheless, I thought I would share my experience as a small business owner because, as the saying goes "If I could do it...so can you!"   I truly believe in the power of self-determination.

Looking back on my experience...almost 13 years later, I am amazed by how much more advanced technology is now and how the portability and ease of use offered by ios and android tablets have exponentially increased access to the web for individuals and communities world wide.  

As a bilingual (Spanish) school psychologist and advocate for individuals in need of mental health support, I envision a future wherein more women, men, mothers, fathers and teens will take advantage of this increased access in order to become familiar with what the internet has to offer (the good, the bad and the ugly) so that they may more confidently use the internet as a tool to improve their lives.  At the most basic level, I would like clients to more confidently look to the internet as a tool to educate themselves about medical conditions, learning difficulties and mental health issues, and to broaden their understanding of the options that are available to them in times of need, including community based assistance and online peer support groups.

Region North America
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Hello Ethel,

Wonderfully explained the use of internet to broaden the knowledge of mental health issues and the solutions it has to offer.

Well balanced article. Kudos to this self-determined woman!

Love,

Mukut Ray

Dear Ethel,

Thank you for sharing your stories with us. I really enjoyed the way you can speak of all the possibilites for digital platforms and the Internet, from generating a support for economic empowerment and creating more accessible venues for supporting mental health issues.

I hope you can find in this training and platform the tools and a community to support your vision for the use of social media and the Internet, and the work in your community.

Maya

Thank you Maya.  

Your comment below perfectly sums up my wishes!

"I hope you can find in this training and platform the tools and a community to support your vision for the use of social media and the Internet, and the work in your community."

I feel compelled to share how honored I am that I have been given the opportunifty to join the World Pulse community and I am already awed by the strength, knowledge and accomplishments of other members of this community.

 The women of World Pulse are clearly a strong group of "Movers and Shakers" who are destined to profoundly impact others through their endeavors.

Regards,

Cindy

 

Hi Ethel,

You remind me so much of myself. When i gave birth to my second daughter, i had just been offered a job in South Sudan with the United Nations. It was not a family mission which meant i had to leave my children behind. It was a very difficult situation for me as a young mother. My husband was very supportive but i couldnt leave my new born child. So i decided to stay home and look after the kids. When the girls were asleep i would go on to my aptop and just surf.

I was able to be an online UNV helping ngos with their tasks. Then i decided to put tasks for the organisation that i started with soem friends. In that process i found world pulse and my life has neer been the same. 

The internet exposed me to so many opportunities and as a result i was able to travel and attend trainings and meetings. So i totally understand your story. 

I am sure you will be able to help start online businesses so that they can provide for their families. For some reason we always beleive that a job has to be an office desk job and yet there is so much that can be done online. We need to encourge stay home mothers and wives to start online businesses that they can manage from home.

Thank you Ethel for your story and continue to share with us such interesting stories. 

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi Head of Legal and Advocacy Centre for Batwa Minorities a.kiddu@gmail.com cfmlegal@gmail.com Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

Hello Cindy, 

Completely agree with you about the potential of the internet! As you say, browsing even just the World Pulse site opens the doors to so many different people and perspectives! 

You have engaged in so many different ways to try and support other people - whether through your online businesses, your work with immigrants and also your involvement in mental health issues. Each of these may feel like a drop in the ocean, but it is so powerful! 

Thanks for sharing your story. 

Regards,

Tejaswini

Thanks Ethel for sharing some your experiences of using your creativity along with embracing technology to make a difference in your own life 13 years ago and connecting with others with similar needs. Also for the work you do in advocating for others - it is hugely important in creating awareness and change, and it speaks to your strength of character and generousity of spirit.

As you talk about embracing technology/internet for making a difference with those with mental health issues a key point you touch on is education - and being able to discern the good/bad and ugly.  Have you thought about how your clients/vulnerable people in similar situations would access the "right" information, help and support?  How would they discover the app/website that you envision? How can you use your experience to create a safe space online? Have you looked at any existing places online to see what they offer, how your idea is different?   Will you focus on a specific aspect of finding help? Keep working on your idea. From my own experience working on developing technolgy solutions, as you become more concrete and specific on what it is you want to do, it will become more easy to find the support to either do this yourself or partner with others to make it happen.  You have taken the first step in identifying a need and I assume have the passion (determination) to follow-through.

Thanks for being a part of World Pulse and hope over the coming weeks you get more ideas and the support you need to continue your valuable work!  

Best Regards, RoseMarie

RoseMarie FitzSimons

Hi Cindy,

Thank you for sharing your story!  

It sounds like you have had very positive experiences with using the web to meet the needs of you and your family in a creative way.  I am very interested to hear more about your ideas of helping people educate themselves via the internet about health and mental health issues.  It seems there is a gap in the availability of good, accurate health information in many countries (including the U.S.!), especially for populations that might be slightly outside of the mainstream.  The internet could have great potential to bring crucial information to a wider population, if it was done in an accessible way!

I wish you the best in your endeavors, and hope that you keep writing!

Best,

Hannah

Hi Cindy, 

Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. As a young woman who has grown up in the Internet Age, I am impressed by your innovative use of the internet, especially before it was such the norm to use the web to support small businesses. I also relate to your story because I am an entrepreneur, so thank you for sharing the experience of creating such an inspiring and unique business model. 

As Hannah mentioned above, your story also was very thought-provoking in regards to mental health and the internet. On one hand, the internet can be a hazardous place. On the other, it is a beautiful way to connect with people with such a variety of backgrounds and journeys (either through our World Pulse community, or other avenues.) That said, I'm curious about your work to connect women, men, and families with helpful mental health resources. Do you have any advice on how to properly guide people towards positive resources, while avoiding other sites and material on the internet that can be detrimental to one's mental health? 

Thank you again for sharing Cindy, and I look forward to reading more! 

Best wishes, 

Kendra 

This is wonderful, Ethel (Cindy)! 

I love hearing your story about how you used your skills and knowledge to create opportunities for yourself, and how something that began as a personal quest became something that others could utilize and benefit from. It is a wonderful story of personal development and the positive affects of technology. 

Your journey is truly inspiring for anyone who wants to make a difference in the world and in their own personal life. As you said: anyone can do it. 

It's exciting to see that you are now encouraging others to use these skills in their own journeys. Thank you for sharing your story with the world so that others can benefit from what you've learned. 

Jessica