A high school athlete from Arkansas is proving that strength comes in more than one form. Not only has Anya Sifuentes pushed herself as a track star, she also pushed herself to overcome a major life obstacle: homelessness.
"It was late September that things just started getting strange," Sifuentes told CBS affiliate KFSM-TV. "On October 1, I went home right after I went after school and realized that I couldn't get in my home anymore." The station didn't explain why the teen's family lost their house, but her track coach remembers the day it happened.
"She called me and she was just distraught," head track coach Jeff Smith said. "I said, 'What's the matter?' She goes, 'I'm homeless. I don't have any clothes. I don't have a place to go.'"
Not only was Sifuentes prevented from going inside her house again, but her mother made the situation more difficult.
"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," Sifuentes said. "My mom said that 'I'm not gonna stay with y'all.' I thought, 'Why?'"
The teen was left to take care of her two siblings and nephew all alone. "To think that we'd be separated — I did not like the feeling," she said. "I knew it wasn't going to be the same anymore."
In almost an instant she went from a normal high school girl to the provider for her family. She picked up jobs, found a new apartment and started paying bills — all while still attending school and track practice.
"It just slaps you in the face — knowing that you're an adult now," Sifuentes said. "You can't play around now. You can't just slack off one day because it will hit you later."
She struggled to understand why her life had turned out this way. She didn't know if she would find the strength, but she managed to persevere.
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