Anya Sifuentes is a high school athlete from Arkansas that suddenly landed on hard times. Back in October, she got back to her home after school and realized she couldn’t get in the house.
Head track coach Jeff Smith got a call from her that day, and found out that she was now homeless. “Somebody came in a red car saying ‘this is no longer your home. You have to leave. You can’t go inside'”, Sifuentes said.
In that instant, she knew her life was about to get a lot more difficult. Sifuentes recalls “my mom started really acting weird and you could tell that she was late on all of her bills and she wasn’t acting the same anymore. My mom said that I’m not gonna stay with y’all. I thought, why?”
Not only was Anya now homeless, but her mother had left her to take care of her two siblings and nephew all by herself. She had trouble understanding why life had taken this turn, and she wasn’t sure if she would be able to find the strength, but she managed.
The teen said running track had helped her get through the tough times, and she was no ordinary runner. Anya caught the eye of college recruiters and was eventually offered a scholarship from the University of the Ozarks to run track.
Her coach was amazed by how well she handled her situation, and said “to me, I don’t know that I’ve ever met another kid who can do what she’s done and endure what she’s endured and do it with a smile.”