Gearing up for a Better Future: Youth Automotive Training Center Welcomes Class of 2018

Recently, 30 young men and women between the ages of 16 and 21 took a step on a new course for their lives by attending the first day of school at the Youth Automotive Training Center (YATC). Many of these youth come from troubled or disadvantaged backgrounds and will now spend the next nine months gearing up for a better future after graduating as part of the YATC Class of 2018.

Automotive legend and JM Family Enterprises founder Jim Moran established YATC in 1984 to prepare these students to become self-sufficient, productive citizens. Upon successful completion of the program, which trains and educates at-risk young men and women in basic automotive repair skills, academic remediation, job readiness and life management skills, the Class of 2018 will join the nearly 700 alumni who received a second chance at success.

“I have such fond memories of Mr. Moran, who encouraged me to apply for YATC and continued to act as a mentor years after I graduated from the program,” said Bernard Jones, YATC class of 1985. “The YATC program made so many things right for me, and even after 30 years, I count on them to be there for me. I still call YATC my family and am so grateful for all that they do.”

There to welcome and speak to the new class on their first day were Colin Brown, member of YATC’s Board of Directors and Chairman and CEO of JM Family, and Larry McGinnes, president of the Board of Directors, along with other advisory board members, staff and YATC supporters.

“Many of you are sitting here wondering what this journey is going to be – if you are going to be able to do this,” Brown said during his address to the students on their first day. “You are the 39th class of individuals wondering the same thing and I can tell you, you would not be here if you had not given a strong indication that this was something you wanted to achieve. You have shown us that you are dedicated to this program, you want to succeed, and we are here to extend our hands and give you the support you need to do so.”

The Class of 2018 represents the 39th class to participate in the YATC program. Students are referred to YATC in a variety of ways, including through the departments of Juvenile Justice and Children and Families, as well as by past graduates, local clergy and word of mouth. Many of these young people have experienced poverty, crime, abuse and addiction even before reaching their teen years.

“You all have made the decision to be here today – and that is something you had to do for yourself,” McGinnes said during his address to the students on their first day. “But now that you are here, we are all dedicated to taking care of you. Even years from now, YATC will be here to help you. You can always come back to ask for help or to provide help to one another.”

There is no cost to the students who attend YATC as the program is funded solely by generous donors and by the Jim Moran Classic Golf Tournament, which is scheduled for Nov. 10 – 11, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando.

For more information about the Youth Automotive Training Center, please visit www.yatc.org or call (954) 428-0909. YATC is located at 399 SW Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Deerfield Beach.

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