Vehicles for Change is making a difference, and it all begins with a vehicle! Our organization exists to address two national challenges: lack of affordable transportation, and lack of opportunity for formerly incarcerated individuals re-entering society.
For an overview of how our programs come full circle, click here to read the article featured in Insider Car News.
Transportation presents a critical (and under-reported) challenge to low-income workers trying not only to find jobs, but manage daily life, without a car. Lack of transportation means individuals can’t access employment, healthcare, child care, social and religious events, and more. A new study in the Journal of Planning Education and Research shows that, over the past 50 years, owning a car has been among the most powerful economic advantages a U.S. family can have.
In a large, continuing study of upward mobility based at Harvard, commuting time has emerged as the single strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty. The longer an average commute in a given county, the worse the chances of low-income families there moving up the ladder. Did you know the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas rank in the top eight longest average commutes in the United States? And that's WITH a vehicle. The typical metropolitan household without a vehicle can reach only reach approximately 40% of metro-wide jobs via transit within 90 minutes.
To learn more about donating your old car, truck or van, click here.
A 2018 Bureau of Justice study found out of 401,288 individuals released from prison in 30 states, more than 83% were re-arrested an average of six times during the study period. That rate in Maryland is roughly 40%, at an average cost of $46,000 per person annually according to The Baltimore Sun. In Michigan, the average incarceration cost per individual is $36,106 as of 2017. And as reported by Detroit Free Press, prison population costs continue to rise.
Our Full Circle Training Program trains returning citizens to become skilled auto mechanics and ensures reentry is a time of SUCCESS, empowerment and support. Only 1% of interns have returned to prison - the equivalent of one individual; the national rate of recidivism is 83%. Through Full Circle Auto Repair & Training Center, we are virtually eliminating recidivism. Our interns receive Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) classroom training as well as hands-on training under the supervision of ASE certified master mechanics and Maryland state licensed inspectors.
"I recently donated my car to Vehicles For Change through an incentive program with Mazda. I was in a bit of a pickle because, in order to get the incentive for my new vehicle, I had to have my car picked up by the tow company by 7/1 and provide proof that it was picked up. I called and spoke to a couple of people at Vehicles for Change who were all very pleasant but specifically, Simone Baptiste as the Mazda donation coordinator. She completely understood my situation and did everything she could to help me out and get the information I needed. She was very responsive in her communication and an absolute pleasure to work with. She has such a positive attitude and I never felt like I was just another person donating a car.
With everything going on in this world, it's great to know there are people like out there trying to make a difference. Whether that be through one donated car or one positive experience at a time, it's all worth it in the end."
Brian Alvarez | July 2019