PALM CITY, Fla. — A Palm City woman, down on her luck, got a huge helping hand from a local nonprofit.
She totaled her car in a crash, but she’s back on the road thanks to a donation from Project Lift.
Through Project Lift, teenagers learn valuable vocational skills, including mechanics and car repair work.
“We’re taking out the entire engine,” said 17-year-old Justin Jordan, one of the program’s teen participants.
Teenagers in the program work with an instructor to learn hands-on skills.
“Our mentor is really great, he taught us a lot,” Jordan said.
Project Lift’s CEO Bob Zaccheo said they also focus on blending vocational skills with mental health for youth who could be considered high-risk.
Licensed clinical therapists are on-site, capitalizing on the trust that instructors build with the teens. They use that trust to also get to know the teens.
“[The therapists] are actually underneath the car learning to turn wrenches with that kid,” Zaccheo said. “So, what takes us about 7 weeks to do in a clinical setting or office we can do in like 7 minutes here.”
But Zaccheo said one of the cars they worked on recently benefitted more than just the teens.
Sally Wishovich was T-boned on Mapp Road in Palm City. Her car was totaled.
“I was heading to go get my grandson. He was at his tutor’s house. All of a sudden, kaboom! It was like this big explosion," Wishovich said. "My head flew back, the impact the window blew open."
Some of her friends, including one who works with United Way, reached out to Project Lift.
Zaccheo heard what happened to her and knew he wanted to help.
“Sally’s like a staple of this particular area. When elementary school is running, she’s out there waving to the kids and greeting them,” Zaccheo said.
“I just say good morning to everybody going by. And then when the cars go back by this way, I go have a nice day!” Wishovich said.
She is also raising her grandson.
“I can not have a car when I have an 11, he’ll be 12 in about a week,” Wishovich said.
Project Lift gave her a car- an older BMW station wagon. Wishovich called it a “Christmas miracle.”
Zaccheo said Sally’s car was the 150th car that Project Lift has given to someone in the community over the last six years.
The donation gave the teens another lesson under the hood- that their skills can be used for good in their community.
“It really like brightened my view because I was so happy to be able to help someone else in need,” Jordan said.