“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29v11
“I know what I wanted to do, but did not know how to get there.” Said Lynne.
While sitting for a quick breakfast at Dunkin Donuts on Saturday morning, she poured her heart out telling her story. On her way to our meeting, she had to drop Taylor her 3 years old daughter who is the center of her life at her mother’s house. With a bright smile on her face, she said “For her, I would give up anything it is worth giving up anything referring to her bundle of joy Taylor. She had another engagement preceding our meeting with several members of judges panelists. She was one of the judges among the few representing the City of Boynton Beach Annual parade. Since she is on the advisory board the education board in the City of Boynton Beach, it puts her at an advantage to participate in additional activities. When asked about the most beautiful thing that happened in her life? She replied again enthusiastically about having her 3 years old daughter Taylor. She learned to embrace motherhood even more and additionally appreciates and cherishes her mother a lot more. After giving birth to her mini self and playing the motherly role, she had learned to foresee her mother at a higher pedestal.
Lynne a native of St. Marc, Haiti emigrated to the US at the age of 14 years old; However, at that time she was no versed in the English language. She currently has a great command of the English language after attending middle school, high school, and college. In high school, she endured the toughest years of her teenage life. Faced with bullying during the year 2000 and the constant war she struggled with for several years. These were devastated times for her battling with African Americans. It was a daily challenge for her she felt heartbroken. The most difficult time of her life with school suspension, several schools fight in numerous occasions defending herself. It was so bad in school that other students used to pull her hair at OmniMiddle School.
Her breakthrough had begun in high school with the help of her guidance counselor Mrs. Kessler. She made a tremendous impact on her life. She forever cherishes those who have been there for her. After graduating high school, she applied at a few universities, she was accepted only at Johnson & Wales University. Unfortunately, she declined to attend Johnson &Wales University due to her parent’s disapproval. Her parents were completely against going away for school to reside on campus although it was an hour away. Culturally Haitian parents are not in favor of sending their children away for college. They thought sending their children away for college would have them being exposed to sex, drugs, and violence. With fear, their daughter would become pregnant by not having her father and mother supervision. For that reason, Lynne had no other choice, but to settle for the local community college. The closest home was Palm Beach State College (PBSC) formerly known as Palm Beach Community College (PBCC). She spent three years at PBSC while caring for her siblings. Being among a total of five including herself, she abides by her parent’s rules against her will accepting to follow their cultural tradition.
After being the goody tissue daughter, Lynne had a drastic decision to make in transitioning to attend Florida Atlantic University for her junior year. She had to become the rebellious daughter for once in her life to fully become independent. Throughout her life, she obeyed her parents, but this time she felt she needed to make drastic changes. However, it was not an easy decision as it was completely different from what she was accustomed to doing. She pledged Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority which played an important role in her growth. She took a leap of faith after feeling very frustrated with her parent’s constant refusal in allowing her to reside on campus. The plan was so conniving which lasted about three months. Every week she got some items out of her room until she eventually escaped from her family’s house. At last, she was living on campus which was the beginning of a great future ahead. “Living on campus was the best decision I have ever made in my life, declared Lynne.” A decision at a high price which made the relationship between her and her parents very rocky for about 6 months. The line of communication began again when her mother needed help to translate a document. She was glad to reestablish the closeness with her folks again. Defiance which ended on a positive note, she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Management in 2012 at Florida Atlantic University.
Subsequently, she married her husband Jean Gassant whom she met through a mutual friend visiting his church. She has been married to him for six years, but have known him for ten years. She said, “I am blessed with a good guy, great husband.” He follows his Christian faith to the core. They make a decision by consulting with each other. We both share the same belief and respect for each other. She continued, “he does the house chores, laundry and more.” It’s an understanding of a great partnership. Her husband has been Americanized although he grew up in a Haitian household and the church.
For Lynne, there is more to fulfilling her purpose in having the experience as an immigrant child. The culture shock was undeniably mixed with the family feud she faced at some point. Her goal was to turn her story into something greater than her own life story. After volunteering as a mentor at a local high school in helping several Haitian students, she created Scholar Career Coaching in December 2012. It had an online program connecting mentors with students who were very challenging. Unfortunately, there was no specific focus for the online program, it was not promising. She decided in October 2014 to have an afterschool mentoring program at Atlantic high school. A year later she got established at Boynton Beach high school. The ultimate goal of SCC was to target ESL students meaning English Speakers of another language throughout Palm Beach County. Especially the ones attending Title 1 schools in low-income areas.
To best describe Scholar Career Coaching: it provides after-school mentoring services and supports students through career planning, college readiness, financial literacy, and soft skills. There have been several success stories with the hundreds of students who attended SCC. Just to name a few (JJ)JesulaJeannot Haiti earthquake survivor, Carl Deshommes first generation to attend college & Jackson Destine first to attend college in his household. These students are currently attending major universities throughout Florida. They became public speakers with scholarship opportunities. Thus far, SCC has awarded 22 scholarships and mentored a couple of hundreds of students. The organization has been featured in reputable local newspapers and television stations such as Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, and channel 5 WPTV and Fox. Her long term goal for SCC is to expand in Broward and Dade. She currently writes her own grant to run the program. She is working toward having a full staff on-site, adding SAT tutoring. Presently, she has been fortunate by having several professionals who volunteer to mentor the students.
Lynne is following a hopeful future ahead of her just as she imagined the Lord has planned for her. Yet, she remains humble in her demeanor. During the first trimester of her pregnancy, she graduated from Florida International University with a Master of Science in Human Resources. She has been Human Resources for over 10 years. With a nomination in August 2017 by Volunteer Florida for the Champion Service Award. After being selected, Former Governor Rick Scott of Florida and the Florida Cabinet handed the award to her. In 2018, she gained another prestigious award for the Alumni MLK Leadership Award by Palm Beach State College. Additionally, she acquired the MLK Jr.’s Drum Major Innovation Service from the Department of Education in Washington, D.C.
Wideline (Lynne) Gassant had proven with her successful path, higher academic education can brighten the horizon for anyone with strong determination. Regardless, she was the first to ever go to College in her family, it did not deter her goals and accomplishments. Neither the language barrier as she spoke no words of English when she immigrated to Florida. The mother, wife, executive director and philanthropic woman among the many roles Lynne plays. She will continue to soar higher and higher in fulfilling her greatest purpose in the service of others. Her ultimate goal is to have SCC fully staffed with a physical location in continuing making an impact in the lives of these hopeful students.
When asked, where does Lynne sees herself in the near future? She referred back to her favorite bible verse “ For the Lord has many plans for me, she said .” She will follow his lead and guidance