Despite personal struggles, Irvington woman works to help others

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IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington resident Saudia Reid’s story is one of struggle, perseverance and obstacles that surface along the way.

Reid obtained her bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in Brooklyn in 2018 and her master’s degree in library science from the University of South Florida in December 2021.

“It was extremely difficult getting my master’s during the pandemic,” Reid told the Irvington Herald. “There were many missed opportunities to connect with others. There was no time to relax, and COVID outbreaks at my jobs forced me to stop working. While doing this, I was also battling untreated and undiagnosed mental illnesses.”

After graduating, Reid moved to Irvington and began working at the Morristown Public Library. She also does volunteer outreach at the Morristown Senior Center every month.

“I am currently trying to make outreach opportunities at the library more refined,” Reid said. “I am hoping to advocate for social work opportunities to be funded in libraries.”

As a librarian, Reid often does multiple tasks without much time for a break.

“Being a librarian requires you to be a researcher — learn about people, ask questions, discern real from fake, avoid bias and be able to reference,” Reid said. “I also do collection development, customer service, marketing and budgeting with $5,000 that the library gave me for promotion.”

Reid is passionate about her job and doing outreach work to help others; however, between work, school, moving states and medical concerns, she has amassed a personal debt.

“It is extremely burdensome to deal with this situation,” Reid said. “I work three jobs, I’m underpaid, and, between the costs of bills, medical bills and student loan payments, I keep experiencing setbacks.”

Cancer runs in Reid’s family, and she has been dealing with cancer scares alongside her mental health struggles for the past few years.

“I had a lumpectomy biopsy done; the surgery was successful. The tumor was benign, but it was certainly a scary time,” Reid said. “I had just started college at the time and was trying to be independent. I had to take time off of work to deal with that.”

Reid finally asked for help, but naturally struggles to do so.

“I always struggle to ask for help, I believe it stems from high school triggers,” Reid said. “Once I started college, I isolated myself; I felt shame and did not want to worry my parents. I’m naturally shy, and there are high expectations on me coming from an Afro-Latina family.”

Reid finally is asking for help, at least with her debt; she has created a GoFundMe at

“I have three library jobs — one is part time, one is full time, and the other is contracted — but I would love the opportunity to do more outside of work,” Reid said. “I am hoping that people may have the compassion to help. I understand that people look at those with mental struggles as if they’re crazy. I am hoping that people will understand that we’re human. We make mistakes, but we are humans just like anyone else and need some help.”

Reid is hoping to increase her outreach efforts to help others who need it the most.

“I worked so hard because of my passion for helping others,” Reid said. “Once I am able to, I will most certainly give back to my own community and lend a helping hand to others in a similar situation like mine on a larger scale than I am able to through my career.

“As a young, black woman battling mental illness, I hope to not only receive help, but to also raise awareness to a demographic that is underrepresented.”

Photos Courtesy of Saudia Reid