The vehicle donation program offers hope and healing to people recovering from addictions.
"It's hard to imagine working anywhere else," says Mike Friesen is the Vehicle Vocational Shop Manager with Adult & Teen Challenge (ATC) in Winnipeg. "I get emotional about it because I work with these guys, shoulder to shoulder every day. We're doing life together and living for Jesus."
Going through the one-year program in 1998, Friesen has been with ATC ever since.
"We use the vehicles to train our students. They come here and work every day and it gives them a sense of purpose. A lot of these guys come from a background where they just didn't go to work every day."
Anyone who has a vehicle they don't use anymore, whether broken down or not, can donate it to this program from almost anywhere in Manitoba.
"We use the vehicle if we need one in our fleet, in our demo derby's, and we use them for training here."
People working in the vehicle program are also going through ATC's one-year in-house addictions recovery program at the same time.
"We can certify the guys, we have equipment here that we actually sign the guys off on and give them a certificate when they're done. This means when they leave our program, they can go to any tire shop in the city and get a job with that."
When the program started in 2003, they would be happy getting one or two vehicles at a time. In their busy season, which is right now, they are getting up to eight vehicles donated per day.
"People are so generous in this province, it just blows me away every year," says Friesen. "A lot of our vehicles come from Southern Manitoba."
The vehicle donation includes things other than just cars, trucks, and SUV's.
"We take anything, it doesn't even matter if it has wheels or not. People have dropped off scrap pieces of their cars that we'll recycle. We'll also take boats, campers, snowmobiles, trailers, quads, anything."
ATC also runs an annual demolition derby with some of the old vehicles that have been donated and don't have any more life in them. Friesen says there are 35 vehicles in their lot waiting for the next derby, as the last few have been cancelled due to COVID. ATC has a derby scheduled for 2022.
"The goal of the demo derby is to let people know that there is a place like Teen Challenge. People love it. The last demo derby was at the Morris Stampede grounds and it was so full and crazy. Everybody was cheering and we get so much exposure and reach."
Join the CHVN team for the Adult & Teen Challenge 'Be Part of a Story' radiothon from December 7-9.