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Using cars to change lives

10 families given keys to cars in Owings Mills
Posted at 7:05 PM, Jul 09, 2024

10 families were handed the keys to freedom today.

They received new to them cars through Vehicles for Change's affordable car ownership program.

The award celebration was held at MileOne Auto Group in Owings Mills.

"How do you get to a job? How do you earn money? How do you get out of generational poverty? Without a car, it is virtually impossible," says Marty Schwartz, founder and president of Vehicles for Change.

Calvin Freeman of Baltimore is one of the new owners, and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

When his name was announced, he wasn't there.

"I was a little late um to out today because I was depending on someone else and they didn't show, so I had to catch a lyft," says Freeman. "So hopefully that will be my last time being late to somewhere, because I have a car."

Freeman is a mechanic and school bus inspector, which often means traveling to different sites.

"A lot of people need help with their cars, so I can't be a mechanic without a car. It will help me get to work… I also need to be there to make sure the kids are safe."

Freeman says he's looking forward to driving his mom around in his 2013 Ford Focus.

The car is in his favorite color, blue.

"My mom. She loves going on trips like Walmart. She loves Walmart. She gets things she wants. Things she doesn't need. So I just want to surprise her and take her there, and get her what she wants. And maybe a drive-in move after."

The used cars were donated by MileOne Auto Group.

Vehicle for Change's auto repair training program, with help from Dent Wizard, got them ready for the road.

That program helps people like Antonio Johnson learn new skills and rebuild their lives.

"My journey has been a long journey…I just obtained one of the career jobs of my life with the help of vehicles for change," says Johnson. Johnson's family also got a car. He and the others went through an application process.

"Our families actually pay for their car. It's not a handout. It's a hand-up," Schwartz said.

The nonprofit Vehicles for Change has awarded more than 8,000 cars in its 25-year history.