Cynthia LaMonica '69

Cynthia Borges LaMonica began her academic journey at Mercy College in 1964 at a time when the world and higher education were rapidly changing.  Cynthia attended Mercy College on scholarship, fresh from St. Catharine Academy in the Bronx, New York.  

Upon graduation from Mercy College, Cynthia began substitute teaching in a local Catholic Grammar School while simultaneously working evenings and weekends as a counselor at the Kennedy Home for Children in the Bronx where she met her future husband, Peter.  

Influenced by the social values taught by the Sisters of Mercy, expressed by their motto “To Be Consumed in Service”, she had experienced life as a Sister of Mercy for almost two years. She then realized she wanted more involvement in the lives of children affected by poverty and consequently became a case worker for the city of Mt. Vernon, NY.  She became the “go to” person for drug-related families.  This experience was followed by four years as a drug rehabilitation counselor with Yonkers General Hospital Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program.

She earned her Master’s Degree from Fordham University in 1978 while working full-time at St. Dominic’s Home for Children in Rockland County. Upon completion of her degree, Peter and Cynthia adopted their daughter from Bogota, Colombia and became a full-time mother.  Personal and hard-fought experiences in international adoption led Cynthia to yet another role as an advocate for families facing this challenge.  In the 1980s, along with another Mercy Graduate, the late Marie Shukaitis, she created the first New Jersey licensed Social Service agency, at that time known as Homestudies, Inc.,  in 20 years devoted to international Adoptions which is still in existence today.

Working in many organizations serving the public need including Phelps Hospital as a social worker,  she became a tireless champion for those in distress and needed their voices heard. By this time, Cynthia and her husband had adopted their son, Peter, also from Colombia. 

Cynthia eventually moved on to serve the need for Social Work in public education, joining the Mount Vernon City School District in the late 1980s. During her time as a School Social Worker with the district she became actively engaged with the children and their families who were facing poverty and life’s inherent challenges.  

Giving back to her alma mater, Cynthia developed and taught a course that fulfilled New York State’s requirements for Child Abuse education for graduate-level teachers.  She also developed and taught a course in stress and time Management which was presented to the National Association of Credit Management.  As an adjunct professor at Fordham University, as well as Columbia University, she supervised social work interns placed in the Mt. Vernon Schools.  

After 18 years as a school social worker, Cynthia retired from the Mt. Vernon City School District and moved to Florida with her husband and young adult children. Though her life as a devoted primary caregiver to her mother left her little spare time, Cynthia found her second chapter in volunteerism. She served multiple roles on the Bayhill Residential District Homeowner’s Association in Viera, Florida, ultimately becoming its president. She volunteers with Open Table, an outreach program assisting youth aging out of foster care in making the transition to college or workforce.  As an active member of St. John Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Viera, Florida, she serves as secretary to the parish’s chapter of the Council of Catholic Women. She continues to be a passionate believer and is ‘consumed in service’ each day of her life, now additionally as a proud grandparent of four boys.