Recycled Rides Car Will Make Life Safer
BY SHERRY THOMPSON
A participant in Family Housing Advisory Services’ Opportunity Passport™ Program is the recipient of a “Recycled Rides” 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt awarded at the Women’s Fund of Omaha’s Annual Fall Luncheon.
Nonprofit agencies in the metro area nominated women they felt would benefit from having a vehicle. A Women’s Fund committee selected Lacyndria “Lacy” Watson as the recipient. Watson is a 22-year-old single mother who attends Metropolitan Community College and works as a home healthcare CNA.
Before receiving the car, Watson relied on up to nine bus rides a day to take her kids to day care, get to school, travel to her clients’ homes for work, pick up the children and then head home. On a typical day, Watson woke up at 5 a.m. to get her 2-1/2-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter fed and dressed before walking a couple of blocks to catch the first bus at 6 a.m. It was often after 8 p.m. before the family arrived home at the end of the day.
Watson visits one of her clients twice a day, each time working two-hour shifts. This required a half-mile walk along a busy interstate area from the bus stop to the woman’s home.
“Receiving the car will make everything in my life so much easier, not to mention safer for my kids and me,” Watson says. “It will enable me to get to work and school in a much more timely manner.” She’ll have more time to spend with her kids and to study, which is important as Watson pursues her dream of becoming a registered nurse.
“I love helping people, and I can’t see myself doing anything else,” she says of reaching her goal.
Transportation is an issue Watson has struggled with since graduating from Boys Town four years ago. During the extreme heat last summer, she resorted to spending more than $700 to rent a car to get to day care and work — money from her limited income that could have been better spent.
Watson has overcome adversity and made the best of her situation to get to where she is today. She became a ward of the state at age 14, ultimately spending her junior and senior years at Boys Town, where she was captain of the cheerleading squad and manager of the girls’ basketball team. Recently, she has been working with local agencies to find safe housing after leaving a domestic violence situation.
In nominating Watson for Recycled Rides, Case Manager Melissa Ball-Steffes of Family Housing Advisory Services said, “Lacy has impressed me from the moment I met her. Her utter determination to triumph over her difficult circumstance in order to meet her obligations and be a fantastic mother to her children is awe-inspiring.”
The Opportunity Passport™ program provides youth who have been in foster care with tools and resources, including a matched savings account, to become successful adults.
This is the third year the Women’s Fund of Omaha has presented keys to a vehicle at its fall luncheon. Recycled Rides is a national awareness program, sponsored by the National Auto Body Council, in which body shops repair and donate used vehicles to families in need. The car Watson received is one of 150 vehicles the National Auto Body Council sponsors each year.
The 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt was donated by State Farm Insurance and refurbished and repaired by Silver Hammer CARSTAR Body Shop of Omaha. Technicians at the shop volunteered their skills. “Repairing and restoring the salvage vehicle was a labor of love for the staff at Silver Hammer CARSTAR,” said Margaret Keith, CARSTAR marketing manager. “The technicians worked hard to make the donation a reality.”
Keith said many other businesses donated to the Recycled Rides project. They include: Auto Tech, Auto Zone, Charity Cars, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, D & E Detailing, House of Muffler, J.D. Casey Paint, Keystone Auto Parts, Luke’s Towing, Midwest LKQ, Nebraska Alignment and Frame, Omaha Box Company and Safe Kids Omaha.