Within the first few minutes of speaking with Kelli Pierson you learn two things about her: First, family is one of the most important things in her life. Second, she treasures her three children’s accomplishments just as much as her own.
When we speak, it’s difficult to hear Kelli’s voice against the background noise coming through the phone. She’s with her two sons at a football camp – one of the many luxuries that are only available to Pierson and her family because they now own a car.
“They are so happy to be ‘gators’,” said Pierson, a Baltimore City resident, “When we didn’t have a car, I had no way to take them to things like this.”
“Things like this” includes taking her 15-year-old daughter to swimming practice. Her daughter recently earned 2nd place at state regionals for swimming, in both the breast stroke and butterfly, and just became a certified lifeguard. It also includes driving outside the city to her mother’s grave in Laurel, and laying flowers on the site.
While owning a vehicle has had a huge impact on Pierson’s children, it’s also impacted what she has been able to accomplish. Pierson was working at the Baltimore City Housing Authority as a rehab apprentice when she was referred to Vehicles for Change. Trained in carpentry, painting and laying ceramic tile, Kelli was unable to advance in her career, because she didn’t have a car to take her to various job sites. Once she received a car, she was able to travel to different sites and hone her craft. She was soon promoted to a maintenance worker and assigned to repairs at Lakeview Gardens.
“This car really enhanced our lives” said Pierson, “Words cannot express what it means for our family.”