BALTIMORE — A million-dollar donation has made it possible for a nonprofit in Baltimore to expand.
The Full Circle Auto Repair and Training Center in the Waverly neighborhood takes incarcerated inmates and those recently released, trains them to become ASE-certified auto technicians and connects them with jobs.
“They spend about four months with us. It’s a paid internship, which is vitally important when you’re working with individuals coming out of incarceration because they need a way to make a living,” said Martin Schwartz, president of Vehicles for Change.
The interns work on donated cars that, when repaired, are given to families in need. Donald Medlar was in the program and is now a manager.
“It is definitely a full-circle program. It’s changed my life, as it’s changed many others, as I’ve watched it change them,” Medlar said.
Around 40 people go through the program every year, but those running the program hope to double that number thanks to a million-dollar donation from several donors.
Full Circle used the money to purchase a new building, freeing up a lot of income that was used on rent. The purchase of the building allows the program to expand in many ways. It’s upgrading the bathrooms, the waiting room is getting new floors and one room will become a space for classroom training.
“We intend to put together a bigger training program. We want to provide more opportunities for people in the neighborhoods to get their cars repaired. We want to bring in other nonprofits to do other work in the extra space. So, we will be doing more than just training auto mechanics, but maybe some soft skills training and some other things in this facility,” Medlard said.