Inspiration can come from unexpected places. Ask Thyraellis Howard. She had lost her mother, and, when her ailing father passed away, she found herself at a pivotal moment. She had lived at Fairfield Court for much of her young life, but, with her six older siblings moving on and without the responsibilities of caregiving that had taken much of her time, she knew it was time to choose a new direction.
All the ingredients were in place. A strong will to succeed. A commitment to service. And RRHA’s Wanda Daniel. Within weeks of Thyra’s father’s death, Ms. Daniel encouraged her to enroll in Richmond’s Mayor’s Youth Academy. Determined “to do whatever it takes to get it done,” Thyra took advantage of the Academy’s educational and vocational opportunities. She also discovered the satisfaction of serving her Fairfield Court community.
“In life, there is always going to be something or someone who inspires you,” says Thyraellis. “And that person was Wanda Daniel.”
“One of my favorite things to do is volunteer,” she explains. “Volunteering can be a very rewarding experience, especially when you know that you are making a difference in someone’s life.”
Thyra credits her family’s support and Daniel’s guidance and encouragement for her achieving a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from East Coast Polytechnic Institute (ECPI) University.
While working on her degree Thyra had another goal: true financial independence. To learn how to manage her money—minimizing debt, improving her credit score, and budgeting and saving, Thyra enrolled in RRHA’s five-year Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program. In addition to learning financial management skills and meeting “and a whole lot of amazing, encouraging connections,” Thyra saw the program as “a reminder that I have something that I am working toward to better my situation.”
When an opportunity opened up at Silverchair Science and Communications, Thyra was well-qualified for the position and “took the bull by the horns”. She was thrilled to become an Associate Software Developer in May 2020 and is well along to achieving her dream of homeownership.
Thyra’s three keys to success?
- The inspiration that comes from people who care.
- The tools that education provides.
- And, as Thyra puts it, “You can’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Participation in FSS has affected my future greatly. I am now better prepared to manage myself and set better milestones toThyraellis Howard
reach my future goals.