Women’s History Month: Greensboro’s Cindy Mondello brings hope and healing

Executive director and founder Cindy Mondello of Restoration Place Counseling. (Courtesy photo)

Throughout the month of March the NSJ will be celebrating the remarkable contributions of North Carolina women for Women’s History Month

As soon as you enter Restoration Place Counseling (RPC), you are greeted with a verse from Isaiah 61:4 “restoring the places long devastated.”  For Cindy Mondello, the founder and executive director of RPC, this verse is the foundation of nearly two decades of work with girls and women, ages 12 and up, who have needed affordable Christian counseling to not only address issues ranging from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sexual abuse, trauma, relational struggles, body image issues, as well as others, but to bring restoration. And for Mondello it’s personal. Having spent her youth and early adult years struggling with bulimia and alcoholism, Mondello’s passion is to walk alongside women, and her life’s work has impacted countless lives throughout the Triad and beyond.

Despite growing up in a Christian family in Louisiana, Mondello found herself empty and suffering as a young woman, struggling with issues people usually tried to keep quiet. With a history of alcoholism in her family and at a time when eating disorders were not readily diagnosed, Mondello found herself in and out of treatment. However, Mondello says that God mercifully woke her up one late night in December of 1996 and finally called her to sobriety. She had done traditional counseling and eating disorder related counseling for years, but it wasn’t until after she moved to Greensboro in 1997 that true healing began. Mondello remembers well the emptiness in her life. “While the behaviors were gone, I was still struggling with eating and body disorder issues and broken relationships,” says Mondello. To her surprise, the restoration she needed came through the loving prayers and biblical guidance of a trained Christian counselor.  

With a spiritually grounded group of friends encouraging her and financially supporting her, Mondello decided to enroll in a master’s program at Gordon Conwell in Christian counseling in January of 2001. It was also during those final semesters of graduate school that Mondello provided low-cost counseling for young women at UNCG as a counseling intern. She was able to speak to their hearts as they battled their own struggles with body image and social pressures and share her own journey from suffering to restoration through a blended form of counseling that uses proven psychological principles with a biblical worldview. It was also during this time that Mondello realized that many young girls and women did not have insurance that covered Christian counseling. 

Once again her friends and counselor challenged her to use her heart, knowledge and faith to open a nonprofit that provided affordable Christian counseling to women. To this day, Mondello humbly credits everything to God’s hold on her life by putting the right people at the right time in her path. So it was in the spring 2005, just prior to graduation, that Mondello filed to incorporate RPC as a 501c3. By June, RPC was incorporated and Mondello was seeing clients.

Mondello says RPC’s “goal is to journey with our clients through a process of healing and restoration that allows them to fully accept and experience God’s unconditional love and find freedom from life crippling issues that inhibit them from reaching their full potential and to do this on a sliding scale fee basis.”  She says “until we know God’s Word, we will always flounder trying to make life work and trying to make sense of a fallen world.” For Mondello, “He alone is the one true healer.” Mondello acknowledges there will be tremendous highs and lows as clients go through counseling. According to her “there is no magic pill. Instead our clients will have assignments, exercises, writing journals, and perhaps other projects.” 

For Mondello it has not always been easy, but she knows that God has equipped her when she didn’t know how to navigate the steep learning curve of running a nonprofit, fundraising, hiring staff and adhering to the path that God has called her to walk. One of Mondello’s friends and faith partners through her journey, Joan Whitcomb, says this about Mondello’s work, “When God plans a thing he delivers the right package, to the right place, and at the right time. He has gifted Cindy with the ability to organize, lead and inspire others, and with the wisdom to lean on the people He has placed in her life.”

Mondello’s creative fundraising work has also been incredibly successful. “Restoration Runway” for nearly a decade has offered past clients the opportunity to walk in celebratory confidence for the restorative care they’ve received. The event has grown in its fundraising support and now grosses over 200K each year.  Clients regularly offer positive reviews of RPC from “I’m beginning to have a better understanding of myself” to a graduate student’s “I can afford to come and my mental health is improved.”  This year, Mondello has announced that RPC will not only be celebrating their clients, but will feature Grammy award winner Mandisa at the Carolina Theatre on September 23rd. The community is invited to attend this exciting event and support the future work of RPC. 

While Modello no longer sees clients, she is motivated by the stories of healing that her talented team of counselors share each week. Mondello says “I am in a sweet time right now. I am able to pour my heart into my staff, be present with them so that they can effectively pour into their clients.” And there’s no slowing down for Mondello. Her energy still focuses on the hope she was given: “that each client will persevere through the pain and experience liberating joy on the other side.” And for her this is a daily victory and one that inspires other women as they gain ground towards restoration.