February 26, 2013 (San Diego)-- As one of 6,000 homeless or unaccompanied youths in the San Diego Unified School District, Jorge Palacios could have easily dropped out of school. But he didn’t. Now, his determination to graduate and move on to a college education was rewarded when he received keys to a newly refurbished vehicle from Caliber Collision’s Recycled Rides program last Friday.
Caliber Collision’s Recycled Rides program partners with insurance companies to donate refurbished vehicles to individuals and service organizations in need. Jorge’s new vehicle was donated by Esurance and refurbished by Caliber Collision associates who volunteered personal time to repair the car and solicit donations from local businesses to help with expenses such as gas and insurance.
In addition to the vehicle, the Caliber staff, vendors and suppliers also contributed $1,000 in cash and gift cards to help with insurance and gas—plus a brand new laptop so Jorge no longer has to wait hours in public libraries to use a computer for his school work.
Jorge was nominated for Caliber’s Recycled Rides program in his last semester at Hoover High School and is now enrolled at Southwestern College. Without a car or permanent housing, Jorge’s typical day starts at 5:00 a.m. and often ends at 1:00 a.m. as he juggles lengthy bus commutes between classes in Chula Vista and a part-time job in City Heights. Jorge spends his limited spare time studying and waiting to use shared computer resources at public libraries. Despite these hardships, he is determined to achieve his immediate goal for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification while he completes his college education.
“Our goal through Recycled Rides is to provide a ‘hand up’ to hard-working individuals like Jorge,” said David Goldstein, Caliber Collision VP of Operations. “We are proud to provide the gift of transportation to help this young man who is so determined to take his life to the next level through hard work, overcoming adversity and getting a good education.”
“We hope this vehicle will make it easier for Jorge to manage daily transportation challenges so he can successfully achieve his education goals,” added Joe Laurentino, Esurance VP of Material Damage.
In the past year, Caliber has donated 15 vehicles through its Recycled Rides program to struggling families, individuals and nonprofit organizations throughout the southwest.