BY DAMON WEBB
Local author Patty Cepeda-Russell recently released her book, From Obstacles to Opportunities. The book chronicles her journey through sensitive subjects like childhood sexual abuse and rape in the military.
“The main reason I wrote this book was to give people hope,” Cepeda-Russell said. “I wanted them to know that no matter the obstacles or hardships they are faced with in life, they can overcome them and move on with their life.”
Cepeda-Russell was inspired to share her story while attending a service at Christ Fellowship Church in Royal Palm Beach.
“I was at a service and the speaker asked the question, ‘What’s your story?’ From there, I started thinking about my own personal story,” she said.
Cepeda-Russell went on to put pen to paper and examined her life. She submitted her writings to the Women of Faith Conference in Fort Lauderdale. There she received an honorable mention, which led to a publishing deal with Christian publisher WestBow Press.
In addition to writing, Cepeda-Russell works in the social services field. She is a child advocate for the State of Florida and part of the Florida Guardian ad Litem program, which is a partnership of community advocates and professional staff providing a voice on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children.
“Writing the book was a very cathartic experience,” Cepeda-Russell said. “It allowed me to re-evaluate my perspective on social services and start fresh again. In my line of work, it is vital to be able to relate and connect to the child. You become part of the healing process for them.”
Cepeda-Russell was contacted by the office of Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-District 22) and asked to share her experience with rape in the military — an issue that is not always given the attention that it deserves.
The congresswoman wanted to share her story when she discusses sexual assault in the military.
“I was surprised to be contacted by Lois Frankel’s office,” Cepeda-Russell said. “This is an issue that remains very close to me, and I’m glad to see that steps are being put into motion to get a better handle on the situation.”
Cepeda-Russell will continue her work as a child advocate and plans to write more books in the future. In the near future, she will begin a new book project with Christ Fellowship set to debut in the fall of 2014.
Cepeda-Russell lives with her husband, Sean, and son, Andy.