DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Dayton mom got a little bit of financial help during a time when she needs it most.

Single mother of three Jamila Kinlock recently won an essay contest held by SaverLife about what to do with a tax refund.

She doesn’t have a car and said some days getting to and from work is a challenge. She said sometimes she spends $200 every couple weeks to get around town.

In the SaverLife essay contest, she wrote:

I would be able to get a car. Currently I spend majority of my money on Ubers and just rides to work and get my kids around. I work hard but I am struggling to just stay afloat. Being able to save money would mean I would be in a better position for myself and my family. I just want a car and be able to have a rainy day fund because things in life just keep hitting us left and right and I’m not prepared or able to handle these things short notice due to lack of funds. I have 3 awesome kids that I hate seeing me struggle.”

Beating out 1,000 entrants, she captured the judges’ attention and was awarded $5,000.

“I was really moved by her commitment to her family and her future,” said Shana Beal, director of communications for SaverLife, surprising Jamila with the $5,000 prize via Zoom.

“I’m trying not to cry” said Jamila. “Getting to and from work lately has been crazy with the prices with Uber and Lyft, and so, that’s what I wanted to save for was a car.”

With the prize money, she can now use it to put towards a car, while also continuing to save and building a better life for her family.

“It makes me feel proud. All those long nights and stressing and worrying, it was worth it,” said Jamila. “This means everything to me and my family. Everything.”

SaverLife has 600,000 members nationwide. The prize money was sponsored by the Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation.