families get keys for success Tampa Bay's 10
September 7, 2009
Tampa, Florida - With vehicles lined up
and balloons flying in the wind, the scene
outside the Family Justice center in Tampa
looked like a used car lot. But nothing's
for sale here; these cars are freebies.
And inside the building, keys are lined
up on a table and excitement is in overdrive,
as one after another, people are called
forward to receive them.
On this Labor Day, 20 people get to check
out a new ride. "I like it, it's cute," says
Christina Matthews with a laugh, while
settling in behind the wheel.
The Wheels of Success program takes in
donated cars, fixes them up and the next
thing you know people like Tiasha Lovett
are all revved up.
"I am very happy, very blessed. Thank
God. It's a wonderful day," she says.
Lovett will be putting her Saturn to good
use. "This vehicle is very important
for me and my family, so I can get back
and forth to work and I'm planning to start
college in January for nursing," says
Lovett loves her new wheels, but there
is one, sticky problem. "I have no
idea how to drive a stick, but I guess
I'll learn today," she says with confidence.
For Charlie Braughton, turning the key
means he'll be able to drive to work and
get his son with asthma to the doctor. "Oh
yes, I've definitely been waitin' big time,
I've been waitin' for this moment. Thank
God for Wheels of Success," Braughton
In the parking lot horns blare, but these
are certainly happy honks.
Back to Lovett, she's behind the wheel
talking to herself. "I can do this," she
shifts into first and lets up on the clutch.
The car jumps forward and then dies. A
second try goes better and before long
Lovett is circling the parking lot.
Lovett may be off to a jerky start, but
for her family this car will still mean
a much smoother ride.
People who donate cars receive a tax break
and there is always a waiting list for
recipients. To find out more about Wheels
of Success click here.
of Success is Tampa Bay's only 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
providing a full range of transportation solutions, including
vehicle replacement; car repair; and licensing, car payment and
down payment assistance to low and moderate income working families.