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Volunteering with Vehicles for Change

A group of Southway team members spent the morning volunteering at the Full Circle Auto Repair & Training Center in central Baltimore. It was a dusty, sweaty project requiring manual labor, but all for a great cause!

In 1999, Vehicles for Change (VFC) opened outside of Baltimore with a vision to empower families with financial challenges to achieve economic and personal independence through car ownership and technical training. Part of their program includes the Full Circle Auto Repair & Training Center at 3419 Greenmount Avenue, which is a prison reentry internship program that trains automotive technicians. The garage operates under the care and supervision of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified master mechanics and Maryland state licensed inspectors and provides basic auto repair, brakes, tune-ups, tires, and oil changes.

VFC technicians are in high demand due to the skills and certifications they obtain through the program as well as their work ethic, passion, and gratitude. Program graduates are quickly offered positions from the region’s largest car dealerships and automotive facilities. While the state and national rates for recidivism (those reentering the criminal justice system) range between 45-70%, the rate is just 3% for VFC and their 20-year program history, signifying great success in a program that supports and trains individuals for success.

Southway proudly supports a variety of workforce development programs throughout the region, including VFC. Our team of volunteers was eager to learn more about ways to help and didn’t hesitate at the challenge of rolling up our sleeves, donning work gloves and dust masks, and breaking out in a full sweat to help clear out a parts loft at the Greenmount location full of outdated parts from the 1970s that were donated along with the garage several years ago. Old radiators and heater cores were unboxed and palletized to recycle the steel and cardboard. Smaller parts that were no longer in need were tossed into a dumpster, while other usable parts were saved. Southway volunteers ranged from the President of the company through summer interns, with all departments and positions represented in between, illustrating our genuine commitment and passion to give back and help others reach their maximum potential. VFC staff worked alongside, including their president and founder.

To learn more about Vehicles for Change and its programs: https://www.vehiclesforchange.org/vehicles-for-change-vision-values/