• Felecia Gilmore-Long

A Road-map for Success! Comes with 4 tires and smiles!

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

Ralph Smith, Susan Jacobs, Chayretta and Ernest Coney were all smiles the day Chayretta's dream came true!

Charyetta, a single mother of a 16-year-old son worked hard to build a safe and secure home since escaping her abuser. Exploring resources that could help her on the “Road to Success”, her dream came true on one beautiful February day!. Her journey began last July when Charyetta came to the CDC of Tampa’s Homeownership Center. Her counselor helped her set goals and a road-map for success; Charyetta set out to turn her temporary job into a permanent one; she wanted a car to make getting around more efficient and dreamed of owning a home one day. With her dreams and a savings plan, she took the steps necessary to succeed. The CDC of Tampa’s Economic Prosperity Center (EPC), a UnitedWay effort to provide wrap around services, referred her to an EPC partner in the - Wheels of Success.

As a domestic violence survivor, Charyetta qualified for the WOS Road to Independence program – helping survivors escape their abusers and maintain self-sufficiency by providing reliable transportation. Her temporary job became permanent in October. A vehicle allows her to increase her income and spend quality time with her son. In her words: “I would have the transportation necessary to stay gainfully employed, to attend work on time and solidify my position with my employer.” Her desire for a car went beyond just keeping a temporary job, it is a first step toward a stable financial future.

This partnership is a prime example of the innovative network of non-profits who participate in the Economic Prosperity Center, managed by the CDC of Tampa and funded by the United Way. Partnering with other non-profits was in Ralph Smith’s, founder of Computer Mentors mind when his daughter no longer needed the car he purchased so she could easily commute to Hillsborough Community College. All three leaders, Ralph Smith/ Computer Mentors, Susan Jacobs/Wheels of Success and Ernest Coney/CDC of Tampa are all graduates of Leadership Tampa, a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce program and Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders Program. “When you are involved in a non-profit, and an opportunity arises, you automatically think, how can this help another non-profit” Ralph said. He said it was heartwarming to meet Charyetta and learn how much having reliable transportation means to her and her family.

To learn more about the Economic Prosperity Center, its work and its partners visit: https://www.cdcoftampa.org/epc

© Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc.