It’s not easy to get around in most towns in Newfoundland and Labrador without a reliable vehicle. It’s harder when you have kids and so many places to go; oh, and the nearest hockey rink, ballet class, or job is more than 45 minutes away in Marystown.
That’s been the reality for Lisa Giovannini of St. Lawrence for the past few years.
“Basically, I am a single mom, of two beautiful, wonderful children who deserve the best. I have been doing everything on my own, and will continue to do so for as long as I am living,” Lisa said in her application for the annual Enriching Lives Car Giveaway Program from Collision Clinic. “It would just be nice to have a break. I have had a lot of bad luck, but still have faith that one day things will work out.”
A New Life … with an Old Clunker
Lisa left behind a tragic past in Grand Prairie, AB in 2009 when she packed up her two- and four-year old kids and cat and left with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.
After a little while, she was able to buy a 2002 Suzuki XL7 to get her family around St. Lawrence, but she regularly had car trouble, and the vehicle was in the garage for nearly two months when she applied for Enriching Lives.
“I constantly broke down, having to get a boost, or towed, or asking for rides. Breaking down in the middle of the highway on your way to your child’s soccer tournament can be pretty scary especially when you’re on the Trans Canada Highway with children aboard,” she says.
She relied on friends, neighbours, even strangers to get around town. While she was running a home daycare, she had damage to her home from a minor sewage backup, forcing her to shut down the business and lose her income in the process.
Getting Around … The Hard Way
Lisa’s been borrowing her mother’s car – a two-door Sunfire – which is a challenge to get around in with two kids and their two hockey bags.
“My son and daughter are both in hockey, and ballet … activities only offered in Marystown. That’s 45 minutes either way four to five times a week,” she says. “It is very difficult to fit two hockey bags and two children … but I make it work. I always do. Not because I have to, but because I want to!”
Light at the End of the Tunnel
The family found a newer vehicle, saved up and were ready to purchase when the inspection discovered it too would need about $1,500 more of work before they could put it on the road.
“It broke my heart to see the look on my kids’ faces when they found out we were without a vehicle again. They were so excited at first to have something to drive in, that was ours, and had room,” Lisa wrote in her application. “A reliable vehicle would be an awesome contribution towards helping me create a better life and more opportunity for my children,” she says “I have been told I am a great mom, but having great kids makes my job easier, thus I am completing this application … to put that big proud smile back on their faces.”
A Lucky Lottery Ticket
Around the same time, Lisa was headed home from hockey practice as usual with her kids when she stopped into the store to buy a lottery ticket.
“I joked that I needed a winning ticket. Not the millions, just enough to get a car,” Lisa says. “A girl I went to school with overheard my conversation and told me she thought about me when she came across the site for Collision Clinic and the car giveaway program.”
Lisa applied right away and just before Christmas we chose her and her family to drive home a fully-reconditioned 2014 Kia Rio for the 12th annual Enriching Lives Giveaway.
Since getting the new car in December, Lisa says so much has changed.
“I didn’t think we were going to to be chosen, when I got the call it restored my hope,” she says.
“Knowing I can go out and put the key in the ignition and the car is going to start is such a relief.”
And what of the Suzuki, still sitting in the parking lot of the garage? Lisa says she’s going to sell it as is, and if she can get anything for it she’s going to get her son an XBox because he gave her his birthday money to take care of other things.
Congratulations to Lisa, Robert, and Olivia, thanks for bringing us your homemade cookies a few weeks ago. We really enjoyed them.
From the whole Collision Clinic team, we hope you’re making it safely to hockey practice.
Get in the Driver’s Seat
Applications for this year’s Enriching Lives Giveaway are now being accepted here. Apply, nominate someone or let someone know about our program and how it can help them.