On The Road To Success, It Helps To Have “Wheels”

Taylor Sanger led a group of friends in assisting Wheels of Success and placing Wanda Henderson (center, Old Navy sweater) in a car. United Way Suncoast also played a role.

The road to success can be marked with constant challenges. 

Bumps and forks along the road may make the journey seem impossible. While some may get bogged down pondering which route to take, others try to keep moving forward. 

Traveling that road proves even more difficult without a car. A drive that could take just a few minutes turns into a multi-hour commute. Between bus stops, they must walk miles. Even grocery shopping becomes more complex as you carry a few bags in the unforgiving Florida heat. These challenges were a reality for Wanda Henderson.

From A Setback To A Comeback

Growing up in foster care, Wanda only wanted a better life for herself and her family. When she put herself through culinary arts school, she appeared to have mapped out a successful path. She adopted her 5-year-old cousin. She started saving to open her own business. 

Then, one accident set her back. With her car totaled, work became impossible. Public transportation proved unreliable for her to maintain the necessary hours for a kitchen. Wanda stalled on the road to success. Her dreams were deferred.

But dreams deferred can still explode.

Financial Coach Calls An Audible

United Way Suncoast financial coach Carrie Williams witnessed the difficulties Wanda endured, and sought a solution from Wheels Of Success, a nonprofit dedicated to providing personal transportation solutions. Carrie helped Wanda apply for support.

United Way Suncoast coach Carrie Williams (left), financial stability manager Matthew Chernesky and administrative assistant Jamie Zale celebrated with Wanda Henderson.

Meanwhile, Taylor Sanger and his friends extended their annual Wheels of Success partnership by donating dollars to help refurbish a car

for a deserving recipient. Each friend gives $500, totaling more than $3,000. 

On Dec. 13, all the efforts culminated and Christmas came early for Wanda. Wheels for Success provided her with a car to call her own. The refurbished GMC Terrain makes it easier for Wanda to get to her job, and it also transports her from from worry to hope.

“I was just gracious enough to have enough constant people in my life to get me in the right direction and to keep moving forward,” Wanda said with tears of joy filling her eyes.

We’ll Keep Helping

Clearly, it takes a village to make it on the road to success. The relationships cultivated along the way help you move forward. The opportunities you find on the road fuel your journey. United Way Suncoast is proud to have played a role in providing those opportunities for Wanda, and we look forward to helping more people with our financial stability efforts in the future. 

Be on the lookout for news of our 2023 virtual financial literacy series, set to launch in February.

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