"We get 3--4 new shops joining every year, and it's become a wonderful experience. All of the shops do their car presentations on the same day, the last Saturday in July,” Di Giulio said. “We wrote the program's map, and now many shops have made it a big part of their community outreach. We have helped single moms, teachers, military veterans and other people. Our goal is to find individuals who can use their vehicle to help others, and that is why we call it a hand-up as opposed to a handout."
St. John was in a bad way 11 years ago, she said, prior to when Wheels to Prosper changed her life.
"I injured my neck one day in 2007 as I was walking the dogs in a vineyard," she said. “Being who I am, I waited to see a doctor who eventually had to fuse four discs together in 2010 and shortly after that, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was in pain and aching all the time like I had a real bad case of the flu and an odd assortment of painful symptoms that didn’t go away. As a result, I had to stop my massage business after going strong for almost a decade, which really broke my heart."
In 2011, St. John's Toyota was t-boned and towed to Body Best Collision Center, where it was deemed to be a complete total. For almost a full year, she struggled with her health and did not have a car to get to doctor's appointments.
One year later, a friend and neighbor asked her if she had any hopes for a car, which she didn’t. He told her he was writing to his friend Dino Di Giulio and offering her as a possible recipient for Wheels to Prosper. She was asked to write up a page listing all of her volunteer experiences and give it to him so he could send it to Di Giulio.
After several other people wrote to Di Giulio about St. John explaining her situation and outlining her years of volunteer work, it all came to fruition in July of 2012 when Body Best gave away three vehicles---one of which went to St. John.