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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:
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.
My story begins when my mom was 15-years-old. She was raped by my father and that is how I was conceived.
Soon after I was born my mom was diagnosed with postpartum depression.
When I was two weeks old I had trouble breathing and my mom found out I had a tumor in my throat. I had to have surgery to remove the tumor and then was sent home to recover. Not too long after I went home somehow when I was in my crib all my stiches in my neck ripped open. I am thankful my grandmother came to check in on my mother and I because when she did my mother was standing there watching me bleed out and not doing anything to stop it.
I believe my mother was so still so angry and resented me because I reminded her of her rape. My grandma ended up picking me up and holding my head to my body and getting me to the hospital in time.
This was my beginning.
When I was about 3-years-old my mom married my stepdad. They had my little sister and then my little brother.
From as early as I can remember my parents highly favored my siblings.
I remember one time we were back to school shopping at the flea market when I saw the coolest pair of high top Vans I had ever seen. They had checkers and so many bright colors. I had never seen shoes like that before. I picked them up and asked my stepdad if I could have them.
He looked me straight in my eyes and said no, yet he turned to my younger sister and said, “Would you like these shoes?”
It broke my heart so much because I could feel him using my excitement for the shoes against me. It was just another way to make me feel like I wasn’t as important as my brother and sister.
Drugs are another issue that plagues family for as long as I can remember. My mom’s pregnancy with my sister did not even stop her or my stepdad from consuming drugs day in and day out.
His drug of choice was heroin and my mother’s was meth.
The majority of my childhood was spent watching my parents do and sell drugs.
My stepdad became very violent and would beat on me and my mother on a regular basis.
I remember one time he threw my mother through our glass French doors. She landed on the back porch and in the process her two front teeth were knocked out. I saw all of this happen right in front of me. After her teeth were knocked out he would make fun of her all the time.
She became very depressed and tried killing herself in our bathroom. She locked the door and broke the mirror. She eventually let me in and I saw my mother bleeding from her wrists in our bathtub. Somehow my grandparents showed up and were able to get her help and she lived.
You might be thinking, ‘Where was Child Protective Services?”.
They were there actually. My family went through seven CPS cases while I was growing up.
It was basically hopeless though because my parents coached us on what to say to the CPS workers. They would threaten us with beatings if we didn’t say exactly what we were supposed to.
My parents also had us pee in their drug test cups so they wouldn’t be caught testing positive for drugs.
One time we were removed from our house and went to go live with my stepdad’s mother. She was mean herself and also resented me for not being her son’s child. Life with her was just about as difficult as life at home.
The violence between my mom and my stepdad came to a head one day when he showed up unexpectedly at our doorstep. He had been in jail and had gotten out and not told anyone.
He kidnapped my mother that day.
I called my grandparents and they came and got us kids and we went looking for them. Somehow, by the grace of God, we found them at an old motel on the Westside. My grandfather and uncle and the hotel manager broke down the door and we found my mother duct tapped to a chair. I remember the duct tape being so tight her skin was budging out. She was sweating and crying, but we couldn’t understand her because her mouth was duct tapped shut.
He was arrested and sent back to jail.
I wanted a better life, but things kept going downhill.
You see, all of this was happening while I was going to school or trying to go to school.
On the days I didn’t have to stay home and take care of my baby brother because my parents wouldn’t wake up, I would try attend school, but I always had to remember to cover up my bruises and be cautious to avoid questions from adults.
One day I ended up getting arrested and spend three weeks in juvenile detention. One day a school a girl who had been picking on me called me a bastard. See I didn’t know what that meant until a friend told me.
I became so angry. This girl knew my mother had been raped. I got into a physical fight with this girl and caused her to need a few stiches. I guess all my anger just came out that day because I had never been in a fight before.
I was later arrested and found guilty and sentenced to three weeks in a juvenile detention center. However, there was a good thing that came from this bad situation.
I told my entire story.
I told her everything, all the stories I just told you plus so many more I don’t have the time to tell today. This helped me get out of my parents’ house for good. This started the process of me being adopted by my grandparents.
In a way I am thankful for that experience because I was finally able to get help.
I went to two high schools before I found San Antonio CAN. I never felt like I fit it. When I was there I would miss my siblings and worry if they were okay. After the kidnapping incident my grandparents decided to legally adopt me.
I remember I was in class one time and shared with the class that I might be able to go to college since I was adopted I could get grants. The adult in the room asked me in front of the whole class, “Why are you being adopted? You/re parents don’t want you?”
It was like a punch in the gut.
Immediately after finding the Can Academies I didn’t feel lonely. For the first time, my teachers understood and helped me. They made me feel wanted. If it weren’t for them I don’t think I would be graduating. I finally found find the first place where I truly belonged.
My advisor Ms. Simmons and my English teacher Ms. Hatfield made me feel like they understood where I had been and that I was wanted.
If it weren’t for San Antonio CAN I don’t think I would be graduating from high school.
Now my life is different.
Although my mom will always be my mom and I can’t change the past, I can choose what I do moving forward.
My goals are to join the Army after high school and eventually earn a degree in education and come back to teach at the CAN. I want to help students like me find their purpose.
And as for me, I was adopted by my grandparents. My grandparents love me very much. I have a boyfriend who helped me get in my journey to get off meth and I found a great church that I consider a second home.
I am thankful for the Can, my grandparents, my boyfriend and my church. I am also thankful for those of you reading this today.
I found find the first place I felt I truly belonged, San Antonio Can.
I know now that I life of love, faith and hope to look forward to. Thank you for believing in me.
In Their Own Words: AJ
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.”
Paola grew up in a traditional home. Both of her parents supported her ambitions, and she was the perfect daughter - until she started to surround herself with the wrong crowd.
Paola began to rebel. Skipping school became the norm.
“I just didn’t care anymore. I stopped going to school; I basically dropped out,” Paola said. “I was so used to skipping class, I didn’t care who found out or what my family would think.”
Her mother was devastated when she found out Paola had been skipping school. She tried to convince Paola that education was the only way to have a prosperous future, but Paola refused to listen.
Everyday, Paola’s mom would shield her husband from reality. She knew he could not bear the truth about his daughter’s downfall.
“My dad never knew I was skipping school. It was only my mom. One day she couldn’t take it anymore. She finally told him.”
It was difficult to shatter her husband’s reality, but after realizing Paola was out of control, she finally built the courage to tell her husband the truth.
“She called my dad while he was working, and he had a heart attack. It hurt. It was the worst thing in my life. I hate that I had to learn the hard way, while my dad is the one who suffered.”
“That’s what changed me,” she said. “It took such a drastic event in order for me to change. I realized I went too far. I couldn’t let my family down anymore.”
“I couldn’t lose my dad,” she said.
“After that, I wanted to get my life straightened out. My mom didn’t want me to give up on school, but I couldn’t go back to my old school because I didn’t have enough credits,” Paola explained. “So I went to a private school, and it didn’t work out either. That’s when I heard about Texans Can.”
Paola could tell the school was very different than the others she’d tried.
“When I started going here, I realized how much discipline I needed,” she said. “The second I got here, I felt the love from the school. Every advisor and teacher have been nothing but helpful.”
“At a traditional high school they just give you a packet. At Texans Can it’s not like that. They’re interactive at every step. They never just sit in the back and act like they don’t care.”
“I always say if I knew about Texans Can since the beginning I would’ve started here my freshman year. This is a unique school, everything about it is special.”
Texans Can’s college-readiness program has even inspired her to pursue more than a high school diploma.
“I want to go to the army and be a nurse on base, so I can help people,” she said. “I’ve heard many people say Texans Can is for kids who don’t have anything to do. People talk down on the school, but it’s not like that at all.”
“This school is amazing. Iit changed my life. If I had not come here, I don’t know where I’d be. Probably still in the same hole, never able to get out,” she said. “Now I can make my family proud and prove to my dad I have changed for the better. I never want to hurt him again.”