Our House has announced Cynthia Huff and
A video shared by Our House on Monday afternoon shows Huff and
“When we found out more about her story, she connected to other programs, specifically the re-entry program,” Goodwin said. “Cynthia has been in both state and federal prison in the past, and that was creating real challenges for her with employment [and] with housing. Working with the re-entry team … up until the present day, it’s been one of the things
Huff’s son, who is also LaShaunti’s father, is incarcerated, and Huff said the help her family received from Our House was instrumental in achieving stability when she became LaShaunti’s guardian.
“They answered questions, they pointed me in the right direction, they gave me contact information, they networked me through everything,” she said. “God has been working and getting me involved with the people at Our House, and there is no limit as to how amazing they both are.”
According to Goodwin, this is an indication of both LaShaunti’s bright future and her grandmother’s determination to help LaShaunti realize her potential.
“[She’s an] A-student, musician, athlete, has great potential and a great future ahead of her,” Goodwin said. “She wants to be first in her family to go to college, and Cynthia has, despite all the challenges she’s had in life, latched onto and found such great purpose in helping LaShaunti succeed. She’s worked so hard in her job, worked so hard outside of her job, to make sure LaShaunti just has everything she needs to succeed.”
This determination is emblematic of the Resilient Family award, Goodwin said.
“The intent of the award is to recognize and lift up one family who embodies the resilience that we think is key to overcoming homelessness and extreme poverty,” he said. “The goal is for it to be a window into the work we do every day with families, for the community to see, and then also to be an inspiration to other families to see what’s possible if you commit to our programs, and you take them seriously.”
According to Goodwin, the Our House team had already chosen Huff and
Huff said she was completely surprised by the award, as she knew Our House and Arkansas 529 were helping LaShaunti prepare for school, but she didn’t expect
“I never had a clue, not even an inkling of a thought, that she was going to get this kind of money,” she said. “This is the most amazing gift. I don’t expect this. I wish my mom was alive to see this, and I wish my son was free to see this, too.”
Goodwin said that members of the Our House team nominate families for the award and after careful consideration, the administration picks the winner. Huff said she’s thankful for the opportunity it’s afforded
“It’s been one of the most remarkable things that I have ever, ever been a part of in my life,” Huff said. “We’ve had Christmas early because of the scholarship money and the Resilient Family fund. … I can’t stop thanking people for helping me get this opportunity to change her life. This is a life changing thing for her. It’s just amazing.”
Huff said she’s going to talk to Borné about potentially using a small portion of the funds, or maybe some of her own money that she’s set aside, to take
“She’s never been to the ocean,” Huff said. “She’s a science nerd and a math nerd. … I think she’s worked hard enough where she should have some sort of award for it.”
Other than that trip, Huff said she plans to spend the entirety of the funds on LaShaunti’s education. “I have no interest in taking something from her that I’ve been working so hard to give to her,” she said.
Huff said she encourages other people who are in unstable financial or housing situations to seek help, and she hopes her story prompts those folks to do so. “I found out about Our House… by asking questions and raising my hand,” she said. “If you don’t ask any questions, how are you going to find out what to do? Humble yourself and be able to ask. I hope my story helps other people. I don’t want everybody to think that they’re by themselves, because they’re not.”