Moving America Forward

Are Cars the Key to Single Mothers Achieving Self-Sufficiency?

April 3, 2014
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Are Cars the Key to Single Mothers Achieving Self-Sufficiency?
Gretchen Ertl/Redux
Single mom Molly Cantrell-Kraig struggled when she had no wheels. Now she's helping others.

Molly Cantrell-Kraig knows what it’s like to be a single mom. Twenty-five years ago, she was on welfare and was without reliable transportation to school and work. As a result, she struggled to find a way to get to her college classes. But by accepting rides from friends whenever they were available (even if it meant she had to arrive hours before her classes), she graduated, found a job, and raised three daughters.

If that wasn’t enough accomplishments, she also launched the Women With Drive Foundation, which provides low-income mothers with cars in exchange for participation in activities that will put them on the road to self-sufficiency, such as earning a G.E.D., taking financial literacy courses, and receiving job counseling.

The nonprofit’s website notes, “A coalition of businesses called the Welfare to Work Partnership found that the most significant barrier to employment for their employees was transportation.” In other words, a car can iterally be the key to a single mom finding and keeping a job.

To identify women who are struggling with transportation, Cantrell-Kraig contacts social service organizations . Together, they craft a two-year plan with monthly check-ins to help the woman become self-sufficient and earn a car. “We don’t give out free cars,” Cantrell-Kraig told Emanuella Grinberg of CNN. “We ask for two years of your life.”

MORE: Here’s Why We Should be Investing in Single Moms

 

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