Cory used to start his day off calling his friends and trying to find a ride. He lived too close to his daughter’s school for her to ride the bus so if he could not find a ride, he would have to walk her; sometimes in the rain and sometimes in the dead of winter. His kids were not able to participate in extracurricular activities because of his lack of transportation.
The family home also lacked a computer and printer so they would have to find rides to the library to complete assignments that required computer access. Cory said that he only lived 15 minutes away from his job but because he would have to wait 30-45 minutes for a ride his commute would end up being 3-4 times the length it should really be. On days he could not find a ride, he would walk the eight miles to his job.
Until one day one of Cory’s friends told him about the Ways to Work program at Families First. Upon hearing about the program Cory was very apprehensive. “I thought the program would only help women. I did not think that they would help a man.” His perception of the program would not allow him to apply for it. However, things soon changed. One day Cory was unable to find a ride so that he could take his daughter to school. She was very adamant about making it to school and not missing any days. So Cory walked his 10 year old daughter to school in a rainstorm. He knew then that something had to change and he decided to make an attempt to get into the Ways to Work program.
Cory said that Ways to Work Loan Coordinator, Tim Bradley, was a big help. “He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and that gave me the strength to believe in myself. Tim is great. He always went above and beyond for me. He never passed judgment on me and he was always willing to listen. He was a tremendous help.”
Cory feels that receiving a car through the Ways to Work program changed his ability to take control of his life. “I received opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to accept otherwise. I am back in school taking classes because I don’t have to ask for rides to the campus now. I can save money because I’m not constantly giving someone $20 for gas money now. I put that money into my own car. I applied to the fire department again and was hired. I would not have been able to do that without a vehicle. My kids can participate in extracurricular activities now. My daughter is on a dance team. My son is getting ready to graduate soon and he is on the basketball team at his school. All of this would not be possible without Ways to Work.”
Ways to Work does not only make it easier to find/keep a job but it also strengthens the bonds between family members. Cory said that he has always been close with his kids but now that he has a car he has been able to take them out more. They spend a lot more time together. He also says that he can take them to Louisiana to see the family that they have there.
Ways to Work is a national program of the Alliance for Children and Families that allows qualified working parents who are unable to receive credit approval elsewhere the opportunity to receive loans up to $6,500 to purchase a used car. The first program of its kind in Georgia, Ways to Work is operated locally by Families First, with services offered in Metropolitan Atlanta.