By Dawn M Chiossi
Recently Knight’s Automotive gave away a car to Roxbury resident Latasha Lindsay. She was awarded the car as this year’s 2019 winner of The Wheels to Prosper Giveaway.
Now, this 32-year-old single mom who previously just got her license is now the proud owner of a refurbished 2009 Hyundai, thanks to the efforts of Knight’s Automotive and Ken’s Autobody in Randolph.
Everyone knows that cars are essential in our society. People need them to get around, for transportation, to get to work, to go for groceries, to have the freedom to go wherever they like. It is more than a stressor and hardship not to have one.
The Wheels to Prosper Giveaway seeks to find local people in their communities who give back and help out others. The program awards a late model car that has been fully inspected and repaired to a worthy and deserving individual helping them to get back on their feet again.
Helping those in need, and making a positive difference in their communities, the Wheels to Prosper initiative was founded by auto shop owners who sought to change the reputation and quality of service in the automotive repair industry.
This nationwide car giveaway began in 2011 as the idea of Dino Di Guillo and Jody Gatchell. They purposely named the giveaway Wheels to Prosper, realizing that to prosper means to thrive. That’s exactly what they had in mind, what they wanted people to do after they received the car—thrive.
The idea soon caught fire and became a national movement. With over 62 shops involved and approximately 201 cars given away, the Wheels to Prosper event does so much to aid others.
Knight’s Automotive of Roxbury has been involved in this great event for approximately eight years, and they are ecstatic to participate. According to co-owner Nancy Knight, the way the program works is that a large variety of nonprofits, organizations, and charities reaches out to the participating community car dealership to nominate a deserving candidate for the giveaway program. In addition to need, they seek to find people who give back in some way: whether it is to their community, to their families, to various organizations, or the like. They seek for that special person who reaches out to others.
For Knight, the choice was easy: Latasha Lindsay. “This year we received 4 nomination letters about her,” enthuses Knight.
Out of the selections they received, for Knight, the choice was clear: This single mom fits the description of the candidate for the program perfectly, something that moved the Knights’: Through research and letters, she discovered that not only did Lindsay not own a car, this single mother of an 18-month-old girl, had endured much unluckier, harder times as she had been homeless. Knight mentions that one of the candidate letters came from Morristown Homeless Solutions, which can’t say enough good things about Lindsay.
Through utter determination and caring, Lindsay battled through it, empowering herself utilizing the tools skills and rehabilitations. Now, she is a devoted single mom, has an apartment, works, plans to go into the medical field to be a phlebotomist, and even won a scholarship to do so and is very active in her church.
In a very real sense, Lindsay has not only survived her circumstances, but thrived. It was the very spirit and definition of what the founders wanted for the Wheels to Prosper Giveaway in the first place.
“This is wonderful, seeing someone make such a difference,” Knight says of both Lindsay and the Wheels to Prosper Program itself. “We always look for somebody that gives back, works hard, is in need of a car.” Stating that Lindsay had often relied on Uber, public transportation, and her family to get around and to take care of her daughter and her life, it is easy to see that Knight admires Lindsay’s work ethic. Lindsay persevered in circumstances where it would have been so easy to give up.
“It really is such a huge detriment not to have a car,” Knight remarks. “This will make a huge difference in her life,” When asked how Lindsay reacted to the giveaway, Knight is enthusiastic, “She was surprised.”
Perhaps even better than being awarded a car, was the feeling of utter good will it created. Knight shares that Lindsay’s whole family and four people from Homeless Solutions all showed up with her to pick up the car. They all rallied around her, celebrating her good luck. “They all kept it secret from her, making it a huge surprise,” Knight relates.
For Knight, the Wheels to Prosper Giveaway is a way to connect with others and to make visible all the good things that both the program and the people involved can bring. Knight’s automotive even had a little party for Lindsay to celebrate. “We all had a pizza party, it was great,” she tells.
Lindsay is just one person, throughout the years, to receive a car. Knight is so thrilled with the way the Wheels to Prosper Giveaway program has gone, she seeks to get the word out and raise awareness about it even more. “We really want to spread the positivity around.”
For Knight this program is more than just a chance to give away a car: It’s a chance to get to know others, to connect with them, and find out about them–what they are doing, and what is important to them, and she puts it simply when she asserts, “This is not about us, it’s about the local people in the community making a difference at the local level. People make a difference close to home, and with giveaway’s like this the community rallies around the people who need help, as we all sometimes do. It matters.”
For further information or details on the Wheels to Prosper Campaign, please visit www.wheelstoprosper.org