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Dreaming Big – Cuba’s Story


Cuba Barber is a young woman on the move. Her early history includes moving from family member to family member before finally entering foster care. Originally, sent to a group home in Greensboro, Cuba moved to Crossnore at the age of seven and stayed with us for two years.

Sisters back together.

It was a difficult move for Cuba. She was separated from her sister, Deirdre, but wasn’t too concerned at first. Cuba says she just thought they’d be going home together soon. That wait stretched out for six years until Cuba was 13. At that time, Deirdre fought for custody of Cuba and won and the sisters lived together until Cuba was 18.

Despite missing her sister, Cuba didn’t want to go with her at first. She’d already been in three or four different foster homes. Finally adopted by her last foster family, she thought she was settled for a while. But that proved to be an unsafe situation and so Deirdre filed for custody. Cuba says they didn’t know each other really and she wasn’t sure about this move. But once she got to know Deirdre, Cuba says she was able to reconnect with her and their biological mother. “I’ve always been grateful and happy for that,” she says.

Beating the odds.

Beating the odds of many kids who grow up in foster care, Cuba graduated from high school in 2017. Her grades earned her a scholarship from her high school to help pay for her studies at Longwood University in Virginia. Cuba began her freshman year studying creative writing. During the summer, Cuba and Deirdre were evicted from their housing so Cuba took a gap year to work and become independent. Defying the odds again, Cuba was able to support herself and to purchase her own car.

As she began to look at going back to Longwood, Cuba learned that Crossnore has a scholarship program. As we like to say, “once a Crossnore kid, always a Crossnore kid,” and so Cuba applied for the scholarship program. “Crossnore came through with a kind and generous gift,” she said, and now Cuba is back in school as a sophomore.

A second chance at a dream.

Cuba has dreamed of being a writer since she was 12 years old. She knew that she needed a college education and so when she thought she might not be able to return to school, it was a hard disappointment. Cuba says she thought she’d have to work and save the money first before she could return to school. “When I learned that Crossnore had this program, I thought there was no way. I hadn’t been at Crossnore in years,” says Cuba. But she filled out the application anyway and says she thinks about that a lot. Without the scholarship, she wouldn’t have been able to return to her studies where her professors thinks she is very talented and has a good chance to get into a doctoral program. “That wouldn’t have happened without these funds to go to school,” Cuba says gratefully.

Plans for the future.

Cuba’s ultimate goal is to teach creative writing at the university level and become a published writer. Her dream is to have something she has written be adapted into a movie or TV show. “It’s a big dream but I think it’s possible because I’m back in school and have many people pouring into me,” says Cuba. “That wouldn’t have been possible without Crossnore and I’ll always be grateful.”