Section 8 housing participant wins scholarship; recognized for achievements

March 7, 2018
Section 8 housing participant wins scholarship; recognized for achievements

Wynonna FulghamA participant in Chandler's Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8) has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials in recognition of her scholastic achievements, community service, and efforts to improve her life and that of her family.

Wynonna Fulgham is a wife and mother of three children ages eight, four and one. With housing assistance and the support of her family, she has been able to attend Arizona State University (ASU) as a full-time student while working as a student teacher at Tempe High School.

Wynonna has been on the Dean's List at ASU in 2012 and 2013 and will graduate in December with a degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in mathematics. Her long term goal is to return to her hometown on the Navajo Reservation and teach math to children.

"Wynonna is a motivated student who has expressed a commitment to making a difference in her community through leadership and teaching," wrote ASU's Academic Success Specialist, Wendy Jabbour, in support of Wynonna's scholarship application. "She is dedicated to helping improve math literacy and student achievement, especially in low income areas."

While attending ASU, Wynonna worked part-time for a City of Tempe after school care program until her husband Nick, who works for the Kyrene School District, made it possible for her to focus exclusively on her education.

"He was gracious enough to put his education on hold and say 'you know what, you finish school and I'll work'," Wynonna said. She intends to return the favor once she graduates.

With Section 8 benefits, Wynonna and her family have been able to rent a home in Chandler. They pay 30 percent of their monthly-adjusted income toward the rent, while the City, through a federal block grant, pays the balance of the rent amount.

The family also participates in the City's Family Self-Sufficiency Program which assists low-income families in making the transition from public assistance to productive employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Achieving self-sufficiency is important to Wynonna and something she learned at an early age growing up on the Navajo Reservation.

"We did not have running water or electricity until I was age seven," Wynonna said. "We learned to use the resources we had and to be thankful for what we had."

Her advice to others facing challenges in life is to try and remain positive and optimistic.

"I think that's what made us come this far, that we are always looking for a better tomorrow rather than thinking 'oh my gosh, look at the situation we're in'," Wynonna said. "You want to wake up each day saying today is going to be a good day; you wake up and give gratitude for another day lived."