- Faith & Family
While walking across the stage, dressed in her cap and gown, Ronae Cambridge, lifted her hands and head in honor of her late mother who always wanted her to go to college, thinking “I know you see me.” It was the joyous day that she had always envisioned. When she was 25, she had prophesied that she would do it, saying “I’m going to graduate from college even if I’m 50.” And at the age of 58, Cambridge was receiving her Master of Social Work, but what made that moment even more extraordinary and amazing was that her daughter, Chavonne Troutman, 24, was graduating with her and also receiving a MSW.
The mother-daughter duo overcame their struggles by helping each other with studying for their bachelors and masters at Barry University. Now that they have been thoroughly equipped for good works, they plan on continuing to help others and also expanding their efforts of service.
Cambridge and Troutman both started their undergraduate studies in ’06. Cambridge had retired from her job of 32 years as a paralegal and Troutman was fresh out of high school.
Cambridge, a mother of four adult children, said she was motivated to go back to school because of her ministry. She is the senior pastor of Glory Temple Ministries — a church and one of the largest food banks in Miami that feeds hundreds of people in need each week.
“I retired to devote myself full time to my ministry,” Cambridge said. “Once I got there I realized that I didn’t have enough knowledge to be as effective as I could, so the holy spirit said to me ‘go to school, so that you can really help the community and those who are in need.’”
Enduring the post-
Troutman, who once considered not seeking higher education, said it was her mother who had encouraged her to go to college and then grad school.
“I was going to be OK with working a customer service job,” Troutman said. “But my mom motivated and inspired me to just do it, and I want to be able to inspire the people around me, like my niece and (one day) my children so that when they look at me they can say ‘she did it, so I have to do it as well.’”
While pursuing their degrees, the duo often turned to each other for help. There were nights were Troutman had writers’ block and Cambridge stayed up and encouraged her. There were other times when Cambridge struggled with technological assignments and got her daughter’s assistance in making charts.
They both stuck it out during the tough times even, while juggling other obligations and responsibilities. While studying at Barry, Cambridge became the caretaker of her oldest son who had suffered a major stroke. She nursed him night-and-day while running the food bank and leading the church.
“She was doing her internship, her school work and leaving her internship to make sure my brother was OK,” Troutman said. “She was doing all of that and balancing everything.”
Cambridge said her higher education has helped her become a better writer and speaker, and improved her organization skills at her ministry. Troutman, who is passionate about working with juveniles and relationship therapy, has actively been seeking employment since graduating in December, while helping her mom’s ministry.
Cambridge said she plans on using her education to expand the ministry by adding services like, marriage and family therapy. She also plans to continue to partner with other organizations for the good of the community.
Troutman and Cambridge described graduating together as both unbelievable and surreal.
“I would have to believe that God has a bigger purpose than we ever imagined,” Cambridge said. “I think he has something for us to do in this community to really make an impact and a difference.”
By Malika A. Wright