After her personal vehicle was totaled, Helen, a school bus driver for Fayette County Public Schools, struggled to get to and from work. It almost seemed too ironic that she, who drives for a living, was without the means to get to her job transporting others.
“I couldn’t afford to quit my job, and it wasn’t within walking distance. To use public transportation, I had to wake up two hours earlier,” Helen said. “For a while, I was borrowing vehicles from different family members, but I never had reliable transportation options.”
Community Ventures, a Lexington-based organization that offers affordable financing to Kentuckians, referred Helen to the Goodwill Cars to Work® program. In August 2013, Helen was matched with a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, and for two years, she made monthly payments on a refundable-interest loan. Without missing a payment, Helen paid off her loan in July 2015, earning back the interest she had paid.
“I couldn’t believe I only had to make payments for two years,” Helen explained. “The program is amazing; I recommend it to everyone I know who can’t afford reliable transportation.”
Helen’s vehicle not only restored her own independence, but also gave her son the ability to enroll in college at Kentucky State University.
“He told me he wasn’t going to apply for college, because he had no way to commute back and forth,” Helen said. “I told him that he didn’t have a choice. He was going to college, and he could use my recently paid-off vehicle for his commute. If it wasn’t for Goodwill Cars to Work, my son would not be pursuing higher education.”