VFC’s Center for Automotive Career Graduate is Navigating His Way to Success

Terrell Ervin, former graduate of VFC’s Center for Automotive Careers detailing program, is ecstatic as he sits in the car he was awarded through VFC’s recipient program.

“Oh what a feeling!” was the slogan for Toyota many years ago, and in the commercials you would see the owner of the Toyota jumping high up in the air with abundant joy. That same kind of joy was obvious when Terrell Ervin, one of the first graduates from Vehicles for Change’s Center for Automotive Careers (CAC), was awarded a car through VFC’s recipient program.

Ervin was awarded a gold 2004 Nissan Altima. His smile was from ear to ear as he went around hugging everyone who would let him. There is no doubt that life has changed quite a bit for Ervin since he walked into VFC to learn auto detailing in late September 2013. The experience would serve to open up new doors and multiply his opportunities immeasurably.

Terrell (pictured in the center) takes a picture with his detailing instructor, Shirome Owens (left), fellow graduate and now VFC employee, Anthony Ford and the director for the Center for Automotive Careers director, Phil Holmes.

After graduating then completing his four-week paid internship, Ervin was immediately hired by Diamond Detail in Cockeysville, MD. “Life has changed for me in a great way because I wake up knowing what I have to do and knowing where I’m going,” Ervin explains. “When you wake up and go to a job that you don’t like it’s hard to get through the day because you are trying to find a way to get out of what you are doing,” Adding, “…but when you like what you are doing, you go in head first and you know where you are coming out on the other side, even if you haven’t made it there yet.”

Ervin will be able to navigate that “other side” a lot easier with his new wheels but the new car owner knows, all too well, how it feels to be affected by a lack of transportation. Ervin, like many others around the country, had to depend on public transportation, which meant much longer, and oftentimes round-about, connections to get where he needed to go. He recalls when he started a new job and took the time to travel the bus route the day before. Rising early for his first day of work, he ended up being 30 minutes late because the bus was late. “I was out there for 45 minutes—in the cold—waiting for the bus…and when you get to work it’s like ‘Well, you’re late.’ Nobody wants to hear it.” Speaking frankly about his experiences in using Baltimore’s bus system, he concludes, “It’s extremely difficult and challenging to be a professional and be where you need to be on-time on a regular basis.”

Nevertheless, as a detailing apprentice at VFC, Ervin was undeterred in his resolve to change his situation, so he started asking questions. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be eligible because I was in the academy but I asked so many questions about every car that came past me.” During his time at VFC, he worked very closely with Awards Coordinator, Nicole Andrews, who personally inspected the cars that were detailed by the CAC apprentices. Ervin admits to asking Andrews a lot of questions about how VFC’s program worked.

After graduating from the CAC, he submitted his paperwork and did all that was necessary to be considered for a car. Finally, his award date came on Friday, January 17th and the staff members at VFC could not have been happier for him. Ervin quickly became a well-liked member of the organization so he had plenty of well-wishers in his corner. Ervin returns the sentiments, saying, “I love VFC so much and how it works. It’s such a great organization and I want to be a part of it in more ways than one.” Adding, “Being awarded a car isn’t enough…I really see myself coming back here and helping out and giving back to the program as much as I can. I’m so blessed to have these opportunities awarded to me and I won’t let them go in vain.”