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Single mom aspiring to be teacher receives donated car

June 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Every year, a local body shop rebuilds a car to give to a person who has worked hard to rebuild their own life. This year's recipient is a single mother working at a fast-food restaurant as she studies to become a teacher.

Ashley Caldwell is an aspiring math teacher and problem solver. But when it came to reliable transportation, the single mother of two needed help.

The Honda Accord she received proved to be the solution Caldwell had been looking for.

"It is going to help me out a lot because I was stressed out. I didn't know what I was going to do. My car didn't pass smog and it was an old car," said Caldwell.

She was chosen to get the car after submitting an application and an essay describing her hardship. Over the past couple of years, the young mother struggled financially and emotionally after leaving an abusive marriage.

The situation was made worse after a trusted relative was arrested and later convicted for abusing one of Caldwell's family members.

"No. 1, you need to protect your children," Caldwell said.

It's a message she wants others to learn from. Despite the challenges she faced, Caldwell is working towards a teaching degree while working full time at In-N-Out Burger. In what spare time she has, she also tutors others in math.

The car is a salvage vehicle from the Auto Club donated to Ben Clymer's The Body Shop. Mechanics donated their time restoring the car while groups, like Enterprise, paid for a year's worth of auto insurance.

"It's nice to be able to give out a little bit of a helping hand to help individuals like that. If we had more of that, we'd have a little bit more united communities," said Clymer.

Caldwell also received a trunk full of groceries that she can reliably drive home.

One of the first trips Caldwell says she's planning to take in her brand new car is to the beach. She says was never able to take them before because she was afraid her other car would not make it.


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