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Storage Unit Moves by Catherine Cunningham

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I am the new diversity in America today, disabled senior who has dedicated her life to advocating for marginalized, less privileged populations, for social inclusion and multicultural acceptance. I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) learning disability and I learned early on that by using organizational/business skills I could achieve academically, later professionally. I've maintained excellent grades, advancing through the fourth grade and having extensive high school credits to graduate high school early, entering college at the age of 16.

Volunteering in my community, lead to my passion and healthcare career, social worker and court investigator. I graduated with MA, clinical psychology and enjoyed advocating for abused children and their families (most in foster care), empowering women to get a fresh start without abuse and restoring families to enrich our communities. After my husband died and as a single parent, I managed my family and worked full time to graduate with with my PHD in clinical psychology without much debt. Working with various court systems as a forensic child psychologist, “Dr. Cate”, I wrote my PHD dissertation on the inter-generational effects of domestic violence/child abuse between children and their mothers. My education, personal experiences culminating in my clinical success as an expert witness (rare female position) in child physical/sexual abuse and domestic violence (usually drugs/alcohol abuse) throughout Southern California. As clinical supervisor and community leader, working at many hospitals and clinics, I taught clinical professionals when developing and implementing procedures, policies and prepare them for annual audit. I am pragmatic and yet a creative thinker, successfully integrating my analytical “left brain” (PHD) with my artistic “right brain” (painting and sculpting) to manage, motivate and supervise clinicians, exemplifying female leadership. “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” ( Nelson Mandela), so I have worked with abuse victims/their families to re-enter society, therapeutically empowering change and support in achieving their dreams.

When I look back on your life over the past 30 years, I consider my forensic psychology career to be very successful, fulfilling my passion and having earned the respect of healthcare professionals. However, it was all sidelined by very serious injuries caused in a vehicle roll-over crash 2005. I have struggled with memory loss and migraines since the accident. I could no longer adequately remember my clients' sessions nor my court reports upon testimony, therefore, not knowing my future prognosis nor abilities, I felt it ethically necessary for me to suspend, then surrender my PHD license. As a single, disabled mother, I worked hard to successfully overcome many of my “life's challenges”, struggling to survive through crisis, adversity, hardship and poverty, to be currently accepted to Law School (choosing to sit for Bar rather the reinstate my PHD), a very personal milestone!

My personal and professional relationships and accomplishments were important to my healing and recovery after the car accident. Life's journey takes many twists and turns, yet exciting as to the next step for me, legal advocacy combined with my healthcare past. While I have made no long distance moves, my son has made many and too frequently over the past 5 years. My son build breweries internationally and nationally, often consulting 2-3 week visits before committing to a brewery project. I usually travel to assist in the packing and unpacking,whenever, I am physically able. My personal moves have been more local, predominantly moving to and from storage units, within California. I'm planning to move in a couple months, however, my new house is only five blocks away from my current apartment, still a big project for me. A couple of months ago, I drove over 300 miles with a trailer to have the movers not show up, no returned calls. I loaded some myself and gave them 0 stars! The following week, I drove again to my storage unit and the guys showed up on time, were excellent movers (good at tetris!) and I gave them five stars! After driving the trailer back, unloading into another storage and returning the trail, I was exhausted and wasn't cheap either. So short moves can wind up averaging as much as big moves when “things go wrong” or plans go awry.

Currently I have retired, relocated to Santa Barbara, a disabled senior (wheelchair due to osteoarthritis from accident and aging), qualifying for and dependent on both need and merit scholarship funding to enable my attendance at Santa Barbara/Ventura Colleges of Law ( 4475 Market St., Ventura, Ca 93003), where I have been accepted 2018. I have overcome many “life challenges”, enabling others to do the same, ' Life’s a b!+ch. You’ve got to go out and kick @$$.'(Maya Angelou) and so I have. A healthcare professional and now legal advocate, I intend to combine my passions in my community outreach and leadership. I can't save the world, however, I can assist one person or family at a time.

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