The twelfth Vusumzi Primary School classroom is dedicated to Cindy Cummings Neprash, who grew up in the idyllic small town of Southboro, Massachusetts, and attended school there from kindergarten through high school. Cindy's mother, an avid reader and writer, and father, a mathematician and puzzle-solver, consistently embodied and underscored the importance of education. As a result, Cindy knew from an early age that education was essential to ensure that she become a skilled and confident employee. After receiving a degree from Salem State University, with an education major and a business minor, Cindy began her career with the YMCA, a worldwide non-profit organization. Cindy developed the center’s educational programs while learning the art of program marketing and management. Several local leaders with whom Cindy had networked quickly recognized her passion for helping people, and Cindy was soon offered an opportunity that would shape her 32-year career in human resources management.
In 1986, while in Italy visiting her sister Martha (subsequent founder of Universal Promise) who was studying the local language and researching her family's Italian roots, Cindy met her future husband Brian in Florence, Italy, and the couple was married in 1987. As part of a milestone birthday celebration, in 2014 Cindy and Brian traveled to South Africa to discover more about Universal Promise and its efforts at Vusumzi Primary School. While touring the classrooms and grounds, they learned that the school did not yet have a constant supply of clean water. Universal Promise, Cindy, and Brian all understood, of course, that a clean and unfettered water supply is essential to building and maintaining a strong mind and a healthy body in each student.
Cindy and Brian soon made clean water at Vusumzi Primary School their mission by creating vinyl flowers from recycled record albums and selling the one-of-a-kind flowers to hundreds of customers. In a handful of months, Cindy, Brian, and eager supporters raised the required funds to install a water collection, purification, and filtration system that serves the entire Vusumzi Primary School community. Universal Promise, in recognition of Cindy's willingness to step up, embrace, and lead the UP vision of a proper and holistic education for the children of Nomathamsanqa, is honored to recognize her for her creativity and perseverance.
Honored by Universal Promise for her generosity on behalf of those we serve