No Labels, No Limits!

Here is a news story about a young woman author and a proud mom who kept to her vision. It is fresh off the presses and just published in Mashpee Magazine 2016, the annual guide for the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce.

Sally and Cynthia

Sally Goldberg and Cynthia Goldberg



Cynthia Goldberg was born with a disability, but her abilities are her main focus. She is 40 years old, and is already an accomplished author, speaker, artist, advocate and a new member of the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce. She is currently enrolled in the Community Leadership Institute of Cape Cod, a program that introduces participants to the topics and leaders affecting the Cape’s future in business, health care, politics, social services and more. The timing couldn’t be better since Cynthia is currently marketing her own business.

“From My Heart is the name of my business, and the exact way that I work,” said Cynthia. Cynthia is driven, focused and very talented. Her business showcases her inspirational writing and artwork in a variety of mediums: book, greeting cards, bookmarks and signed prints. “She has a natural ability, and channels a source of positive energy from her heart,” said Tessa D’Agostino, Cynthia’s teacher, mentor and friend. “When she speaks she gets into this zone and says the most amazing things.”

“Cynthia was amazing from the start,” said her mother Sally Elam. “The disability was major, but as a parent I decided to take it one challenge at a time.” Cynthia’s mom explained that when Cynthia was three months old she took her to a doctor and asked what Cynthia wouldn’t be able to do. “He said he didn’t know, and I didn’t know, so I decided to shoot for the moon,” said Elam. “It was up to me to figure it out.”

Cynthia’s mom read many books and studied everything she could about babies and young children. “Then after observing Cynthia,” said Elam, “I decided to make specific toys to teach the colors, letters, numbers and reading.” When Cynthia learned all those concepts before the age of two, Elam started guring out how to teach more advanced skills. Soon she also started showing other moms how to do it. Their children had no special needs, and they wanted her help.

However, as Cynthia got older, she developed a fear of being around people – until something incredible happened sometime in her thirties that changed her life. “I found my twin when I was sleeping one night,” Cynthia said. “I found her deep inside of me, and when I was talking to her, I discovered the real me that was inside. It helped me face my fears because I liked the other Cynthia.” Cynthia said with her mom’s help and the discovery of her “real” self she has developed a positive outlook on life. “I spread my wings to y,” said Cynthia. She’s been soaring along the path of success ever since.

Cynthia has become more independent and thanks Cynthia O’Brien, the owner of the Market Street Bookshop at Mashpee Commons, for giving her the opportunity to work in her shop. “When I was working at the bookstore,” Cynthia recalls, “I saw the book The Tale of Two Cities, and came up with the title for my own book, The Tale of Two Cynthias.”

The book features Cynthia’s inspirational artwork and poems that depict the fearful Cynthia she used to be and her transition into the positive and hopeful woman she is today. Her favorite poem is called “I Love Being Me.” There is also a picture in the book that she chose to go with the poem because it expresses what she felt the night she discovered her “real” self in the dream.

Describing the meaning behind her painting, Cynthia said “I see myself in a box. It reminds me how I couldn’t get myself out of the box and how I had to conquer those negative feelings and fears.” Cynthia explained that she finally opened the box by breaking through those barriers of fear. “I got into the house of worship and grew into the land of maturity, responsibility and the land of being me. That’s why I named the poem,

‘I Love Being Me.’”

“I was proud of Cynthia when I heard that story,” said Cynthia’s mom. “I was really touched by that.” Cynthia said, “Now I’m experiencing different adventures. I’m more in control now that I’m able to branch out from the house to experience the world.”

Cynthia started writing poems about people who touched her life in some way and then branched out to describing interesting events and concepts in unique ways.

After she started writing, Cynthia’s mom encouraged her daughter to take some art classes. After Cynthia spent a year working on artwork under the direction of Tessa D’Agostino, a local artist who was teaching expressive art classes at a local gallery, Cynthia became her star student. “Inspired by the feeling of each poem, Cynthia then chose a painting to match each poem,” said D’Agostino. “She is so open and expressive, which allows herself to be in the moment and in the process. Because she works that way she creates heartfelt pieces.”

Cynthia and Tessa then turned over all their work to Cynthia’s mom who further edited all the poems, wrote the introduction and published the book in 2013, A Tale of Two Cynthias, a collection of inspirational art and poetry. Cynthia even had a book signing at the Market Street Book Shop with a successful turnout. “It makes me happy to see myself grow,” said Cynthia.“ I’m so proud of myself.”

Cynthia is using her experience as an inspirational artist and poet as support for her new role as an independent consultant in the area of self-advocacy for the Kennedy Donovan Center (KDC) and Cape Cod Community Services.

“Cynthia is a dynamic woman who has invested in herself and others,” said Juliane Dillon, family support coordinator at KDC, friend and mentor. “I thank Juliane for introducing me to the world of advocacy,” said Cynthia.

 As a founding member and leader of KDC’s Cape Advocates Standing Together (C.A.S.T.) program, Cynthia co-leads advocacy groups with Juliane’s guidance, and assists with trainings and other programs for both children and adults with developmental challenges. “The goal is to teach individuals how to stand up for themselves and Cynthia is an example of what can happen,” said Dillon. “There’s no stopping me now,” said Cynthia. That’s an understatement, since Cynthia’s days are full. But, said Cynthia, “It’s important for me to give back.”

Cynthia is involved with the Mashpee Kiwanis, Special Olympics, Cotuit Center for the Arts, Bridges, HAC, Esprit, the Falmouth Jewish Center, the Cape Cod Children’s Museum, L.I.F.E. Inc., and is very excited to be a proud member of the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce.

Cynthia is also a popular speaker for human service agencies and other agencies to promote self-advocacy and is proudly using her newfound abilities to help others. “Now I am mentoring others to reach for the stars to achieve their dreams,” said Cynthia, “always from my heart.”

 Join Sally Goldberg, Ph.D. for up-to-date News, Views and Q’s right here on “Parenting with Dr. Sally” and don’t forget to sign up for Parenting Tips.


  1. Phyllis Snyder

    It’s wonderful to read about Cynthia’s growth and accomplishments. It’s a testament to her tenacity and focus, and to her mother’s love!

  2. Marilyn Perlyn

    Cynthia is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met! Her ambition and commitment to all her talents is extraordinary. She never gives up and is a role model for all of us. Congratulations, Cynthia!!! We are all so proud of you!

  3. Miriam Salazar

    I am so proud of Cynthia and her success. Knowing her and her family since she was a baby, I know the important role her mother has played in shaping her into the amazing young woman she is today. Wishing Cynthia more wonderful things to come and I commend her mother for her endless love and support.

  4. Hi Phyllis, Marilyn and Miriam,

    You are absolutely wonderful friends. We all know about Hilary Clinton’s groundbreaking book “It Takes a Village.” From the outside success stories always look like one straight shot, but those who are part of the “village” know differently. It looks like there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Yea!!! You are three friends who have always been by my side through difficult times, and I thank you for continuing to be there now.

  5. Joan Smith

    High goals were set for you with your Mom’s guidance since you were ever so young. Your Mom shared the videos of you when you were about 2 years old, and she learned how to teach you to read. Imagine what an accomplishment that was. I also witnessed you being a big sister to your younger sister. Truly, you deserve accolades for all your ongoing successful efforts.

  6. Hi Joan,

    You are sooo special to remember all of this. Yes, Cynthia and I had a ball together in those early days as we charted new courses together. In those days “my village” was there, and we all took pride together in these early accomplishments.

    Today she and I are again charting new courses. For a while we were soaring with the wind with success after success. However, then from out of the blue, a big problem came along and impeded our progress. Times got very tough. They are a little better now and thanks to you and others, my village is returning and truly helping me through. Thank you very much for taking the time to write in, share your joy and root us on.

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