by Annie Wu
Melanie Cintron, 29, returned to school in Jan. 2013 to finish her bachelor’s degree and hopefully launch her dream career in nonprofit work. She was attending school full time while receiving unemployment benefits. But since the federal government stopped funding the emergency unemployment benefits program in Dec. 2013, it’s been difficult for Cintron’s family to make ends meet. Without the roughly $290 dollars each week in unemployment checks, Cintron had to take her three year-old son out of daycare and took funds out of her 401k to help pay the bills. But she’s not letting that stop her from her dream of becoming a community organizer and helping others break the cycle of poverty. Later this month, step one in that dream is about to happen: she’ll be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in community organizing from Baruch College.