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Your Vehicle Can Change Lives
Cars for Kids is a car donation charity helping local kids graduate and get their high school diploma since 1992. We are a nonprofit organization with an excellent track record of providing students at risk of dropping out the opportunity to reach their educational goals and create a better life for themselves by earning their high school diploma. This goal is achieved by giving students the tools and resources and that allow them to flourish. Unfortunately, not all kids can function in a traditional classroom setting, and your donation to Cars for Kids provides these kids with the infrastructure and academic setting to be successful.
Donating your car or vehicle to Cars for Kids can truly change lives. In addition to free towing with convenient scheduling options, we offer a $50 gift card as a thank you for your vehicle donation. We accept cars, trucks, vans, boats, motorcycles, RVs, campers, jet skis, forklifts, trailers, or almost any type of vehicle, whether it is running or not.
Why Your Car Donation Matters:
Matt's success story.
To start out I'll explain where I'm coming from. I was born in Arkansas on May 1992, and spent the next 9 years of my life moving from state to state and many towns in between.
I was fairly wealthy, my father worked for Wal-Mart Distribution Centers all over America. We had vacations often and all the newest and nicest stuff you could ask for. I moved from North Carolina to Texas in 2001. Again, in Texas, I moved from town to town and finally landing in Denton county. Here I actually had a stable home for a few years until December 2004 and odd event came about. I was home alone watching my afternoon cartoons when some strange people knocked on my back door and asked for my dad. Little did I know that they were there to take him to jail. My father, unbeknown to me, was a local drug dealer. Of course I wasn't oblivious but I had no clue to the seriousness of his actions. They arrested him for possession, intent to sell, and oh yeah, having a methamphetamine lab in our garage. He went to prison, I went to live with other family for a few years.
He got out of prison in late 2006. By that time I was living with my mom again, not in the best of conditions. This proceeded on for a while. My father got busted a few more times. So obviously this reflected at the school I attended. I went to Azle High School from 2005-2009. I was nothing but trouble. I was fighting often and in and out of A.E.P. and other in school suspension programs. I was selling drugs here and there, and doing twice as much. I saw a lot of my friends go down the same road my dad did. I saw me going gown that road. This made me reflect a lot seeing as I had been through hell compared to where I grew up. I didn't want this for my kids, or anyone else's kids for that matter. In 2009 we were evicted from our house and decided to start a new again in a different town, River Oaks.
I was still technically a freshman so going back to school seemed out of the picture until I realized the Can Academy was only 2miles from my house. I found out I could really start over here. I began attending in late August of 2009 and now I'm only 6 days away from graduating. I was more motivated to graduate here that I was to do anything else in my life. I walked those two miles back and forth everyday, and in this term, I've finished seven classes, five of which I completed in four weeks. This school gave me an opportunity that has indefinitely decided the course of the rest of my life. I have now quit drugs, stopped smoking cigarettes, and improved many aspects of my life I can credit the school for helping me with.
I'm not perfect, but I realize now that I can do absolutely anything I want with my life. Aiming to be president seems to small a goal to me now. And in 6 days it all begins. Thank you, Can Academy
At the age of 12, Kim’s mother loaded the family car with a few belongings and her four children leaving McAllen, TX and a failed marriage to the past.
Though her mother held two jobs to make ends meet, the family squeezed into a one bedroom apartment in East Austin. “We didn’t have a bed. We had one pull-out couch, and I would rather have my brothers and my mom sleep on it than me. She worked so much,” Kim remarks.
“You wish you could do so much more to help the people you love, but I wasn’t old enough. I really wasn’t old enough – I was 14. I was still a kid, but I never really felt like a kid because I always had such a heavy weight to carry.” Kim’s love for her brothers can be compared to that of a mother’s love. Ray, a younger brother, was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of three. Ray’s treatments required the family to stay in the Ronald McDonald House for extended periods of time. Ray has since entered remission and undergone more treatment, but this hardship changed Kim’s personal understanding of her role in supporting the family and sparked her interest in pursuing the medical field.
Ultimately, the burden of caring for her brothers affected her attendance and led to her dismissal from her local high school. Austin Can Academy was not a part of the plan Kim set for herself. Principal Oakes remembers, “She had a hard time adjusting in the beginning. It was obvious she didn’t want to be here, but it only took that first day for her to realize that we were here to support her. After that day, it clicked. She was unstoppable.”
“Austin Can teachers taught you more than you needed to know. When I asked a questions they offered answers that lead me to more thoughtful questions. Austin Can makes you feel like family. You don’t feel, how do you say it in English? I want to say ‘No estorbes,’ like you’re not a bother. If I didn’t make it to school on time, I got text messages and phone calls. When your parents can’t be there to push you, the advisors are there to keep you on track. My mom didn’t talk to me about college – Austin Can did that.”
Graduation was so close Kim could feel it. She came rested and ready for her state exams, and then the worst happened – she didn’t finish her English exam within the five hour time limit. Six weeks later, the news that she failed her English STAAR exam hit her hard but she was positive. “Not passing the STAAR test wasn’t the same rejection I felt from other times in my life. I had support around me telling me that I needed to study a little harder. You can’t lose hope with that kind of support,” remarks Kim.
While continuing to study for her state exams, Kim completed her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training and certification at Austin Can. “The Certified Nursing Assistant program allowed me to start working above minimum wage. This certification isn’t the end all, it is the first step into the medical field. Now, I’m working on my Medical Aid Certificate. I’m making a decent amount, and I can continue my classes without having to pick up extra shifts. I’ve been helping the other CNA students get jobs – one of the girls has a house now. Nursing opens so many doors. I enjoy what I do. I want to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Kim has since graduated from Austin Can and continues the effort to surround herself with positive, driven and empowering people. “When you hang around with people who are not on an upward path, you’re not going to change. When you decide to make a change, you have to make the choice about who you spend your time with. Even if it is family or friends, if they don’t get it – you have to remove yourself.”
“The students – we don’t have a lot, we’re not lucky like others. The support people give to the school takes a weight off of our shoulders. It’s a chance for us to become something or somebody. There are people my age who have two jobs. When I tell people about my high school experience, they wish they would have known about Austin Can. The Can doesn’t let you walk out with your diploma, they’re going to help you create those first steps.”
“Honestly, I’ve never felt so stable and happy. Austin Can gave me a confidence to make it through the tough times. In times that I felt like giving up because of the obstacles in my life, Austin Can changed my way of thinking and acting in hard situations. You take what you’ve been through and you take what you’ve seen and you use that to make an impact. I may not be the one to break the chain, but I at least want to be the one to weaken it. I tell my brothers, they can do this – they can make it.”
Kim currently works as a CNA while continuing her coursework to be a Medical Aid. She plans to pursue a degree in nursing and work with children with chronic disease. “Where do I see myself in five years? It’s not so much where I see myself, with an RN degree you can do so much. How I want to feel in five years – I want to be happy. I want to love what I do and want to move forward in that. I just want to be happy really.”
Jorge's Success Story
Back at my other school my behavior and lack of attendance was a big problem and I thought I would never graduate. I used to skip class all the time and chill with my friends. I always got into trouble doing stupid stuff. I knew one day it would catch up to me.
I got into trouble in school one day and was arrested. During court, I saw my mom cry my dad also told me that my girl was crying. It felt really bad knowing that I was hurting them both. I knew I had to straighten up but where to start? I was stuck. I felt like giving up and I didn’t know what to do. I would have been locked up for 4 years but the judge gave me a 2nd chance, 9 months of probation, wanting me to keep going to school was the first step.
It was hard trying to find a school that accepted me. The school board of education kicked me out of the A.I.S.D. district. I couldn’t enroll anywhere, until I found Austin Can! Academy. Other than the judge, this school gave me a 2nd chance. It was like everything I needed to graduate. It gave me hope, the teachers are fun and can teach real good. They always help you and give you special attention when you need it, and it really helped me. With the help of my family, my girl and especially Austin Can! I am now a high school graduate!! The first in my family.
I Love Austin CAN! Academy.
Sean Fulayter’s story is both humbling and inspiring. Sean comes to us from Michigan after overcoming unbelievable obstacles. He was born in Flint, Michigan on July 21, 1993 and is 17 years-old. Sean’s parents split before he was born and he never knew his father. He lived with his mother and grandmother for most of his childhood. At the age of six, his mother got remarried to a man in the U.S. Navy who was both mentally and physically abusive to his family. Sean’s mother suffered from mental illness and after the birth of Sean’s second sibling she also began using hard drugs to escape the abuse. At the age of 11 Sean began taking care of both siblings. One was a newborn infant and the other a toddler. He cooked meals for them and made sure they had everything they needed. Because of this responsibility, Sean missed many days of school but somehow managed to keep very good grades.
Sean moved back and forth between his mother’s house and his grandmother’s house most of his childhood because of family problems. He says, “I never really had a home to call my own.” At the age of 13 Sean was kicked out of his mother’s house and lived on the streets for 30 days. He slept near generators behind a store to keep warm during the cold Michigan winter and got food wherever he could.
Cold, hungry and weak, Sean walked into the city library and ‘Googled’ his father, whom he had never met. He found the address and walked 14 miles with two bags of his belongings to his father’s home. He lived there for a few months before living with his father became unbearable.
Sean went back to his grandmother’s house. When he was 15 his uncle invited Sean to visit him in Austin, Texas. Coming from a family with generations of gang activity, Sean wanted to make a better life for himself and his siblings, whom he dearly loved. When he learned a friend was killed by a rival gang in Flint, Sean was advised by his friends to not come back to Michigan.
Sean then moved to San Antonio to live with another uncle. “My uncle took me in as his own son and he is the only father figure I’ve ever known. He taught me how to respect women, how to protect myself and how to talk to people. He taught me everything about life”, said Sean. Living with his Uncle Steven, Sean enrolled in a Southside San Antonio public high school as a freshman and started making bad grades, skipping school and even getting involved in fights.
After his freshman year he heard about San Antonio Can! High School from a friend. His Aunt brought him to the Can! for orientation and helped pave his future. Sean was 16 when he started at the Can! as a sophomore. Since enrolling Sean attends school full-time while working two jobs; one in landscaping and one at a restaurant. He even attended summer school to gain credits faster. Sean says, “The Can! has helped me more than anything. I can’t explain how much.”
He realized his dream to join the U.S. Army when he was sworn in September 24, 2010. Sean hopes to make a career in the Army as combat medic. Sean attends a church youth group meeting every Tuesday where he says “we pray for our families and pray for forgiveness.”
Despite enormous obstacles and unconscionable circumstances Sean will graduate from San Antonio Can! High School on January 21, 2011. He hopes to soon be able to adopt his siblings and do for them what his Uncle Steve did for him. Sean thanks his Uncle Steve and Aunt Sue Ann for treating him like a son and saving his life.
“My uncle took me in as his own son and he is the only father figure I’ve ever known. He taught me how to respect women, how to protect myself and how to talk to people. He taught me everything about life”, said Sean. Living with his Uncle Steven, Sean enrolled in a Southside San Antonio public high school as a freshman and started making bad grades, skipping school and even getting involved in fights. After his freshman year he heard about San Antonio Can! High School from a friend. His Aunt brought him to the Can! for orientation and helped pave his future. Sean was 16 when he started at the Can! as a sophomore. Since enrolling Sean attends school full-time while working two jobs; one in landscaping and one at a restaurant. He even attended summer school to gain credits faster. Sean says, “The Can! has helped me more than anything. I can’t explain how much.” He realized his dream to join the U.S. Army when he was sworn in September 24, 2010. Sean hopes to make a career in the Army as combat medic. Sean attends a church youth group meeting every Tuesday where he says “we pray for our families and pray for forgiveness. Despite enormous obstacles and unconscionable circumstances Sean will graduate from San Antonio Can! High School on January 21, 2011. He hopes to soon be able to adopt his siblings and do for them what his Uncle Steve did for him. Sean thanks his Uncle Steve and Aunt Sue Ann for treating him like a son and saving his life.
When Eddie grew up with his mother, brother, and sister, a regular family meal was a tortilla with salt for seasoning.
His loving mother worked hard, but making ends meet was almost beyond her. His dad was not in the picture.
One day, Eddie came home from school to find his brother and sister hungry. He couldn’t take the sight of it any longer. “I decided that was enough. Something had to change.”
At fifteen, Eddie left the ninth grade to go to work.
Moving away from his mother and siblings in Arkansas, Eddie began living with his uncle, who had a construction job for him in San Antonio. There, Eddie had no friends. His absence from home was painful. The burden was lightened, however, by knowing that he made enough money to provide food and necessities for his brother and sister.
After some time, a co-worker many years older told Eddie that he saw something in him. “You know, you’re really good at this. But you could be doing much more. Why don’t you go to school? Why aren’t you in school?”
For Eddie, who left that path years before, the thought of graduating high school at twenty-one was far from appealing. But, his co-worker’s words worked on his imagination. He looked online and found Texans Can - San Antonio.
This was, Eddie says, “the best decision I ever made.”
At Texans Can - San Antonio, Eddie found staff and teachers who made him feel cared for—the first time he ever knew that feeling in school. He made friends. And he still worked construction, still sending money back home, while working for his high school diploma.
One day, one of Eddie’s friends, a fellow member on the basketball team, was struck by a car and died. Devastated by the loss, Eddie turned to the abundantly available emotional support from the staff at Texans Can. Through this time, Eddie connected with his math tutor, who became a mentor and friend. Eddie began to enjoy weekends.
“For the first time in my life, I actually got to be a kid.” His heavy responsibilities, he said, faded in those moments.
The impact Eddie’s mentor made on him stays with him to this day. Now, seven years after graduation, Eddie is an award-winning store manager for AT&T, a company he has stayed with since he graduated. He has traveled abroad, and he has purchased his second home. Because of his experiences at Texans Can - San Antonio and the success he has known since, he wants to give back, being a mentor to young men who, like him, have had to go without the love and guidance of a father.
Most important to Eddie is his family. Married with two small children, a six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, Eddie is grateful that they “will never know what it was like to struggle” as he did. “They will never know the pain of growing up without their father.”
And Eddie is a father figure to more than his children. Thanks to his hard work, his brother and sister were provided for. Both graduated and now, says Eddie, are “doing well,” and they now live in the same Arkansas community. If cousins need equipment so they can enjoy playing on the basketball team, Eddie is ready to provide. The beat of his heart is to be the father he never knew, and the one he found at Texans Can - San Antonio.
The new life he has found through Texans Can, Eddie says, is “truly amazing.”