Testimonials ... (Page 2)
"Ultimately, the most powerful thing about Ways to Work is that the program is constructed in such a way as to cause and sustain long lasting meaningful change at the family unit level.
We ask a lot of the borrowers up front and during the relationship. They receive a high level of expert support from Alliance member agencies, but the responsibility lies with them to cause the change in their family. A car helps them do that and a counselor helps them do that, but ultimately they are doing it while in the program and continuing after exiting the program." ... Alliance for Children and Families Magazine. Peter Goldberg, past CEO of Ways to Work and past President and CEO of the Alliance, Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee, WI - I am a 30-year-old single parent of two children.
After years of dead-end, low paying jobs, in 2006 I was extremely fortunate to finally be hired in a good position, working for a good employer. Unfortunately, because of those years of dead-end, low paying jobs, I had horrible credit and was never able to manage to purchase a car worth more than $500 that was safe to run. Things were finally starting to look up for my little family with my new stable job, but because of my credit, I was still driving a tremendously rickety car. I was thankful that I had a car, but now that I look back - I shouldn't have even been driving it, especially, with my kids in the car. It was that unsafe. I felt I had no choice because I didn't know how else I could get the kids to and from daycare everyday, or to their doctor appointments. Taking a bus everywhere would mean a huge amount of time spent without my kids, way more time off of work, the kids wouldn't be able to be in after school activities, their social lives would be cut short, I would never be able to work any overtime that might be offered, and overall make our lives really, really hard and unhappy.
After searching on the Internet during my breaks at work, I finally came across Ways to Work. I have never heard of the program and figured that I might as well apply because there didn't seem to be a single thing else that I could do. Ways to Work was the only program that I ever came across in the Milwaukee area that helps parents in my situation get a safe car. All throughout the application process I didn't get my hopes up because Ways to Work was literally my last (and only) hope. When I got the call from the Terrie saying that my loan was approved, I got off the phone with her and immediately burst in tears. I was that happy and relieved.
I absolutely tried to make the best of the loan by thoroughly researching which are the best used cars I could get for the $4000. I settled on a 1997 Honda Accord. Some people may (and did) scoff at my huge excitement for being able to buy a 10+ year old car, but I don't care because they have no idea how much it means to me to have this car. All my kids' lives, all they have known is for me to either have very scary and falling apart cars or else no car at all. Now we have one that looks decent and runs perfect.
I really wish there was more funding for this program because I personally know a lot of people whose lives would change if they were able to get help from Ways to Work. People who have never had to take buses with small children every single place they go, or had to rely on family and friends charity car rides have no idea what a hard struggle it is.
The whole process of getting the Ways to Work loan was pretty simple. Both Terrie and Karen were very available and helpful throughout the whole process. I am grateful to both of them, especially Terrie for all of her work and help in this matter.
Another positive side effect of this loan that I want to mention before I end this note is one that I would have not even expected ... a sense of pride. I don't have to be embarrassed not having a car (or having a junky one), or ashamed of having to ask people for rides or relying on anyone else's help. I am proud of the way that I have managed to find the car, and the cheapest insurance I could find, all on my own. I am also proud that I am paying the loan off on time every month. To me, this is the first step in becoming a responsible and productive mother. It helped nudge me in the right direction in bettering mine and my children's lives, whereas before I felt I had no choice but to just try "making it" from day to day, not really moving up.
Pictured on the right is Brandee Trimmier with her Taurus, the car that she bought with the help of the Arlington, TX Ways to Work program.
Pictured to the left is Tammi Davis with her Grand Prix.
Buying a mini-van has improved Georgina Castaneda's family's life tremendously and she has been inspired to tell others about the program. Now that she has a reliable car, she saves two hours on her daily commute time and has increased her income by finding a full time job. In Georgina's words, "Life has become a lot easier." She has opened savings accounts for herself and her daughter, as well as an IRA. Thanks to the money she saved in her account, this past Christmas Georgina took her children on their first vacation ever ... to Disneyland. According to Georgina, "I always dreamed of taking the kids there but never would have thought I could do it alone. Thank you, Ways to Work -- you changed my life.Visit their website - Ways to Work, Peninsula Family Service, San Mateo, CA
Milwaukee, WI - A New Path!
Ways to Work helps community members across the country travel a new path. Cassandra Reeves reminds us of this truth. After knocking on many doors that were closed to her, Cassandra knocked on Social Development Commission's (Milwaukee, WI) and received a Ways to Work loan that helped to put her on a new path.
With sincere appreciation and a renewed since of hope, she said: I am setting up (a plan of action) with Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Milwaukee to get as much of my unsecured debt and collections paid off. I am starting a new lease on being in control of my finances and my debts. Many times several doors may close but there is one that will open and rain a multitude of opportunity down if we let our hearts be open to chance. Nothing is impossible. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your Ways to Work program.
Cassandra, Thank you!
Recently, our family returned to Akron, Ohio. All of our finances were utilized to secure a safe trip across the country. We were starting over. Although our only family vehicle made it nearly 3,000 miles, shortly after our arrival a major repair was needed, which cost more than the car was worth.
My wife, a full-time student, and I were using whatever means necessary to get her to school and myself to work to ensure we could support our 6 children. We did not have anything close to "good" credit and were becoming more and more frustrated with being turned down for traditional loans through car lots and banks.
A close friend of ours told us about a program designed to help people like us. We made an appointment, answered a few questions during our interview, and found out that we were approved for a car loan!
Within 1 week, my family was able to take home the kind of car we had always dreamed of owning!!!! AND not only was the worry of transportation gone, but we were even shown how to better manage our finances!
Thank you Ways to Work for helping us secure a vehicle! The Wilson Family
The Ways to Work program has helped us to get a vehicle when it was not even an option. Now that we have a vehicle we have more options and possibilities that we didn't have before. We are thankful that there is such a program and the people that are involved with the program are kind and helpful. This program I hope will spread all over Ohio and the U.S. and continue on for years to come.
The Masters Family
I want to write this to tell you how much the following program has helped me. What I am referring to is Ways to Work. This program made it so I did not have to call a taxi to get myself to work and take my two boys to daycare. It also made it so I could go to the store, doctor's appointment and do daily duties without disturbing loved ones lives. It also made it so that I could spend quality time with my boys. This includes such things as going to the park, swimming and doing other activities that they enjoy. Thank you very much for providing this program for me. This has helped me more than this letter can express. This program has and will help a great deal of single mothers and fathers.
Sincerely, The Blevins Family
When I moved to the Pocono Mountain area, I had no idea that the transmission in my car of two years would fail. Shortly after this incident, I accepted a job in Allentown with no way to get back and forth to work.
I saw a pamphlet with the Ways to Work Program's name on the front and thought to myself this is exactly what I needed. At that point I called Dawn Washington and explained my current situation to her. She told me that the Ways to Work Program would be able to help me. I was so relieved when she told me that because it was very difficult to work in Allentown without a reliable way of getting there.
After I forwarded all of my necessary paperwork to Dawn, I waited for a response for loan approval. The whole entire process of finding and getting approved for the loan was exceptionally quick. Additionally, I believe it was a smooth process because of Dawn Washington. She was always kind, courteous, and genuinely caring to my husband and I. Moreover, she always responded to any problem I had in a timely fashion.
Finally, I am very grateful to the Ways to Work Program for helping my husband and I get to work and transport our family of five.
The Ross Family
I am writing this letter to express my gratitude for the help that we received from the Ways to Work program. Over two years ago we had a van that died leaving us with no transportation and not enough money to purchase another one. We had no family to turn to for any type of help and nobody would give us a loan. I had just started a new job and was faced with the dilemma of not having a way to get there.
We were referred to the Ways to Work program and that is how we met one of the most wonderful human beings that we have ever come in contact with. (Dawn Washington) She was the only one that took the time to listen to us, work with us, and understand our situation. We knew in our hearts that we would pay back the loan but getting someone else to believe us was the problem, that is where the Ways to Work program and Dawn Washington helped us at one of our most desperate times of need. With 4 children the last thing we could afford was for me to lose my job. We think the program is one of the most understanding, helpful, and caring programs that we have ever came across. We have come so far since the help that we received from the program and for that we are eternally grateful. Once again we would like to express our deepest gratitude to you Dawn and the Ways to Work program.
God Bless the Ways to Work program and Dawn Washington.
Gratefully Yours, The Painter Ohl Family
P.S. The world would be a better place if everybody were as caring and helpful to those that are less fortunate, as you are.
Canton, OH -
Dear Robin & Staff,
I would like to take the time to thank yourself and staff for allowing me the opportunity to obtain a car loan to become a more self reliable mother and employee. I guess I should start where it all began. I was referred to your agency thru the help of a program which unfortunately no longer exists to help individuals with difficulties find a job which would work around the persons needs. I am the single mother of two beautiful children ages 12 and 5. My 12 year old was diagnosed with ADHD, Bipolar, Oppositional Defiant Syndrome and Tourettes Syndrome. Finding an employer to work around that fact that I would receive numerous phone calls from the school would be a nightmare however, my job coach helped me find a dentist in Massillon that was willing to try. The other challenge I had was I did not have transportation and relied on SARTA [Stark Area Regional Transit Authority] to drive me to daycare to drop off my son, catch another bus to take my daughter to school and then walk to work from there. My job coach heard about your program Ways to Work and I was scheduled for an interview within a week. I met with Robin Seemann (my savior from public transportation!) we came up with a plan to save money and make a car payment affordable on $6.00 an hour. I obtained a car loan and just let me sum up over the 24 months of having this vehicle what it has done. I was able to find a better job making double of what I was originally making. I paid off my car loan and was able to finance a 2003 Toyota Corolla! I love this car being the fact that I have never had a brand new car and I did this all on my own. I can not say thank you enough because if it wasn't for your agency I would still be struggling to get to work and take my kids to school and daycare. Your agency is a true blessing.
Thank you, The Mayle Family