Commencement Speaker

Cynthia Le Monds (B.A. ’96, M.P.A. ’08)
CEO, SA Youth

LeMonds_Spring2014_commencementCynthia Le Monds has worked with inner-city youth in San Antonio for the majority of her professional career. She is currently the CEO of SA Youth, a dropout prevention and recovery program that serves upwards of 1,600 adolescents each year.

The daughter of migrant farmhands, Le Monds was raised in poverty along the Mississippi and Arkansas deltas and began assisting her parents working in fields beginning at age 8. Eager to create a better future for herself, she began pursuing an education. After working part-time jobs and bouncing between relatives’ homes, she enrolled at the University of Arkansas where she completed her high school courses through correspondence during her first year of college.

Soon after, Le Monds relocated to San Antonio, where she enrolled at St. Mary’s to complete her undergraduate studies in Political Science and later her Master of Public Administration. While at St. Mary’s, Le Monds began participating in community service at SA Youth, at the time called Downtown Youth Drop-in Center.

After leaving briefly to attend a year of law school, Le Monds returned to SA Youth and began working in various capacities. In 1999, she became SA Youth’s youngest CEO at the age of 24.

During her tenure with SA Youth, Le Monds has helped the agency flourish from a staff of five on an $80,000 budget and operating out of a rented office building to 160 employees, a $6.8 million budget and 18 locations across San Antonio. Le Monds also oversaw the development of SA Youth’s YouthBuild program, which gives high school dropouts a second chance by helping them earn a GED or high school diploma as well as develop essential workforce skills.

In her spare time, La Monds enjoys sharing her personal experiences with others as a way of proving how at-risk children can overcome adverse circumstance through education.