Vehicle program helps get single mom on road to success

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Relying on public transportation to get around is the reality for many working families.

But now, there's a program that's giving them new wheels and it has transformed the life of one Valley mother.

Laura Aranda's road hasn't always been an easy one, but now, her life has taken a U-turn.

Aranda is a single mom. Two years ago, she and her four children didn't have a place of their own. She used the light rail and the bus to get her kids to and from school and get herself to work. Her oldest son worked part time to help her pay the bills.

"I didn't think I was going to make it," she said.

She has a small business on the side to help make ends meet but didn't have a reliable car to sell her yulu seeds at farmers markets, work her full-time job and get her kids to school.

"It was a struggle for us and then financially with the vehicle that we used to have, it kept on breaking down on us," Aranda said.

But then, she found out about a program called SHIFT and that's when her life shifted, as well.

"We have clients out there that we make these vehicles available to them and they're affordable," said Jake Sedillo with Labor's Community Service Agency.

The nonprofit gets most of its cars from the state surplus yard, fixes them up and gives them to families in need.

Right now, dozens of families in the Valley are benefiting.

"It's a huge, huge comfort for any family that is a working family knowing that they'll have a responsible vehicle that will get them from point A to point B," Sedillo said.

The cars aren't free. They cost about $200 a month, but there's no interest, no credit check, no repo for non-payment and all of the maintenance is covered. After two years, the family owns the car flat-out.

"I was very fortunate to be in the program and very blessed to be in that program," Aranda said.

Her life is now full speed ahead. She gets to work, owns a home and, most importantly, the single mom is setting an example for her children.

"Working hard, every day just working and motivating them," she said.

The road ahead for her looks bright.

Click here for more information about Project SHIFT