Second Chance Cars is launching a partnership with the Village Automotive Group! Village’s owner Ray Ciccolo has generously offered to supply us with a steady flow of used car donations from his dealerships so we can help get more hard-working Massachusetts residents to work. Here is a clip of Meghan, who was referred to us by our partners at Women’s Money Matters, getting a gorgeous 2005 Toyota Camry donated by Honda Village.
SCC: Hi Charles, please tell us a little about yourself.
Charles: My name is Charles Davis. I’m a US naval disabled veteran. I served eight years. I have five kids. I’m a granddad. I am employed at the Bedford VA. I work in the warehouse as a material handler.
SCC: Tell us about your time in the Navy.
Charles: I was a cook in the Navy. I traveled all over the world. I went on three Mediterranean cruises. I’ve been to places like Africa, Asia, Greece, Rome, Germany, France, all over Italy. The Navy opened up doors for me because I am from a family of 15. My father passed away when I was five, so we were in real, real poverty. The Navy was a way of me getting out of poverty, but also getting my family to come out of poverty and help my mother.
It introduced me to so many diverse, different things, people, and cultures. I got paid to travel and it was just awesome. I should have stayed, but something very bad happened to me and I just wasn’t able to adjust and I was too ashamed to get help. Later on down the line, other assets of the VA helped me talk about it and get situated and understand what happened and why it happened. So, I’m a better man today.
With my profession in the Navy as a cook I could get hired anywhere. I was like a journeyman. One thing about the Navy, it gets you traveling so much, and once you come out, you don’t want to stop traveling. So that’s what I did. I moved around and lived in different states and just enjoyed life and worked everywhere I went and tried to deal with life on life’s terms.
SCC: What circumstances led up to you reaching out to Second Chance Cars?
Charles: I got caught up with the wrong type of people. I had the wrong woman and she was the type that if I didn’t be with her, she would do anything to make sure that I was with anyone else, even make false statements. I went to prison because of stuff that she said.
I lost everything. I was there for seven years fighting for my life. It was just a bad time in my life, a bad chapter. I got out 15 months ago with nothing and I went to the VA and I met a lot of specialists and people that helped me to get myself together.
I went to the dorm. That’s a place where homeless veterans like me go to find housing, job placement, mental security. You get to stabilize in every aspect of your life. I was working CWT, that’s compensated work therapy. It’s like a job but it’s really getting you ready for a real job. I heard about Second Chance Cars at the V.A.
SCC: We’re so glad you were able to get help. What was the process like when you reached out to Second Chance Cars?
Charles: They interviewed me. Dan got back with me that week. And he said, Charles, we’re ready to go and we have a car for you. I was floored. I mean, it was like a car! I needed a car so badly.
When I got there for the presentation the wind was blowing. So half of the tarp was off the car. I was freaking out. He pulled a tarp off and it was nice, nice, nice. The car is great. No problems whatsoever. Everything works. Those folks, they really care about veterans and they’re giving back.
SCC: How are things going for you now?
I have a car. My payment is $78 a month. My insurance is paid off for a year. It was like a dream come true. Second chance cars gave me a renewed faith, a new hope. Now that I have a job, I’m able to catch up with all my past bills. My son and my daughter stay in Rhode Island. I’m able to go and visit them and pick them up and take them to church with me. They hang out with me and I take them shopping.
I’m able to make all ends meet. I’m also in the ministry, so I preach on Sundays. I’m able to go to meetings, go to church, give back to the community. This car completed me. It completed what I needed.
My kids mother doesn’t have transportation so she was just floored when she heard I had a car. She said, “how’d you get a car, you just got home?” I said, “it was God and an organization called Second Chance Cars.
SCC: Hi Jerica, please tell us a little about yourself.
JW: My name is Jerica Washington. I’m 31 years old. I served in the U.S. Air Force. I’ve been home from the military now since 2015. I recently graduated from Anna Maria College in 2020. I grew up in Boston, which is where I work now.
SCC: Volunteering is clearly important to you. Can you describe some of your service experience?
JW: I’ve been a volunteer with AmeriCorps and volunteered in service to America. I also serve at a call to talk center and take calls to intervene and help prevent suicide. My volunteer experiences help my personality shine, but I do it because I want to see my community shine.
SCC: Where does that strength come from?
JW: I didn’t realize it was a strength, but the ability certainly stems from a life of knowing what it’s like to not have it. And faith based communities have influenced me and helped me to feel inspired to do a lot more for others.
SCC: What was your experience after the military?
JW: I got a merit scholarship to get an undergraduate degree.
One thing led to another and I accomplished a masters in business administration. What I wanted to do, I worked toward it. Life was difficult. Life was hard. But it was my life.
SCC: So what led to you connecting with Second Chance Cars?
JW: I bought my car, set up the payments, and paid it off. And then the car broke down completely and I was barely securing a part-time job because I was transitioning out of a major loss in the family. As I was recovering financially and grieving I really felt pushed to my ends. I called 211 and inquired about what resources were available to someone who may need help with a vehicle. I was reconnected with Veterans Inc and they connected me with Second Chance Cars. I was still very humble. I didn’t know if it was the right time for me to ask for help. That was my inner battle.
SCC: We were so happy to connect with someone as deserving as you. How are things going now?
JW: I’m so happy to have met Veterans Inc and to have met Second Chance Cars. I’m very thankful for the way it was all set up. It doesn’t feel like a handout at all. I’m almost through making the loan payments on my “new” 2006 Honda Accord. It’s quite an easy loan payment and boost in my credit score. It’s helped me to not only secure a part-time weekend job, but also a full-time weekday job serving the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I can see myself as someone who can get to a position where maybe I’ll run a nonprofit. I’m working on it. It’s a work in progress.
SCC: Hi Josh, please tell us a little about yourself.
Josh: My name is Josh Duquette. I’m 31 years old. I live in a Massachusetts with my three daughters, my girlfriend and her daughter. I work in the North Attleboro public school systems as a special education paraprofessional. I’ve been working at this job for about two years now. I recently started working as a one-to-one tutor for children with moderate to severe needs.
SCC: Tell us about your time in the military.
Josh: I made the decision to enlist in the force. My first day was 24, August, 2009, right out of high school. I wanted to serve in the air force to set myself up for success in the future with college education, military benefits for my future children, as well as to serve my country like my brother did. I served from 2009 to Christmas Eve, 2013. During that time I worked as a part of Air Force Space Command out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and I deployed as part of the 386 expeditionary communication squadron in Ali Al Salem Kuwait.
Looking back on my time in the military, I would say that my service definitely gave me the social and professional skills to quickly adapt to a civilian environment in terms of being prepared, being flexible, hardworking, and a personality that a lot of people and students would be willing to work with.
I’m incredibly proud of my time in the service. It definitely transformed my life and I would not be who I am today without my time. After I left military service, I enrolled at Mass Bay Community College, and then I continued on to UMass Boston and I got my Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy because I knew that I wanted to take the critical thinking and analytic skills from my military service and apply it into more of a scholarly life skill field versus being stuck in academia. And following my time at UMass Boston, I went onto Brandeis University and I received my Masters and that’s how I got into education.
SCC: What compels you to be an educator?
Josh: What compels me to be an educator is that it’s an extension of my service. During my military service, I served the country in a general sense, but now I’m able to give back to the community and the people that I signed up to defend. I’m making an impact now in my home country, raising a generation, that’s going to be better than the one that I’m a part of.
I absolutely love my job. I feel like on most days the kids are helping me more than I’m helping them. I get to be the middle school educator adult that I wish I had growing up. I get to be the person who can help children integrate with each other and set them up for success in their future. Whether that be a trade school, college, future military service, I’m able to support these kids in a small group setting and get that feedback from them. Like, you know, thank you Mr. Duquette, for helping me. Whether that be on a test or just being somebody to talk to because they’re having a rough day at home with their siblings, with their support circle at home.
It’s, it’s already, making more of an impact than my military service did. It’s I’m helping to foster a, an entire generation of youth that will hopefully, and probably will go on to do better things than I did.
SCC: Tell us about what led to you to connect with Second Chance Cars?
Josh: In 2015, I was in a car accident due to my service connected disability. My legs went numb behind the wheel. My foot got pinned to the accelerator and I ended up hitting a truck. After I was brought to the ER, the officer on the scene revoked my license due to a medical threat, and it took five years to get that decision reversed. It took a lot of support from the Attleboro VSO, the Providence VA Medical Center, which is a local service member support organization. And then I recently got my license back, but then the issue became, I need a safe, reliable vehicle, not only for myself, but also for my family. My three kids have never been able to take a car ride with their dad. They’ve never been able to have me bring them to their extracurriculars or even something as small as just going to the grocery store.
That was a huge burden on them. But for me, it was very, very demoralizing, sometimes humiliating. I felt like that I was being unfairly punished and that I wasn’t going to be able to meet the obligations that I have as a father and as a disabled veteran just trying to get a job and make an impact on his community.
SCC: What was the experience of getting approved for a car like?
Josh: When I saw the Mitsubishi for the first time, it, it was really, really hard to just let myself accept it that after so long, not having a car, not being able to drive, that I could finally be a family man and a working man, a real man, essentially. I was just overcome with joy and especially seeing how great it was taken care of and hearing all of the work that they did on the vehicle, basically making it run like a brand new car. I was just overwhelmed. It was life changing.
It can fit my kids in and my girlfriend and we can go for drives and I can do all of the things that they’ve been missing out on for the past five years. I can take them to zoos and parks and out to dinner and get ice cream and the aquarium, the mall, all of these things that a lot of people take for granted. Having a safe, reliable vehicle improved their quality of life and outlook on life so much and the quality of the time they get to spend with their dad now is much, much higher. I will be eternally grateful for that because now I can feel like a real dad.
It’s just been a tremendous amount of shame and self-loathing that evaporated within this span of like a week from the time that I was in contact with Dan to the time that he gave me the keys for this Mitsubishi. Five, six years of stress and depression gone in an instant. I can’t even put into words how mind blowing that felt for such a seemingly simple thing for so many people, just a car that I can drive to work.
SCC: What’s next for you?
Josh: Now that I have this vehicle, all of these opportunities have opened up for me. I’m able to take on more hours, I’m able to work a summer position, I’m able to take on this additional tutoring opportunity for students that have severe needs and require that flexible schedule and immediate access to a paraprofessional. I can do those things now. So I’m helping way more people than just myself and my family.
SCC: What would you say to someone considering donating a car to Second Chance Cars?
Josh: If I was to meet somebody who considered donating their car to Second Chance Cars, I would absolutely encourage them. I’d beg them to do it, honestly. I would love for another veteran, another person, family community, to be able to benefit in the same way that I did.
Supply chain issues in 2022 made it harder to get gently used cars donated, and more expensive to fix them. We prevailed and were able to get refugees, returning citizens, veterans and others to work because of our truly generous car donors and an amazing network of community partners.
Our car awardees either got, kept or grew a job with the help of a SCC car. Below is a summary of the economic impact we had on them.
Avg weekly hours worked without a car: 33.3
Avg weekly hours worked with a car: 42.1
Avg increase in hours of 26.4% → (from 33.3 to 42.1)
Avg hr increase per week: 8.8
How many individuals increased hours: 53%
Avg annual income without car: $27,753.6
Avg annual income with car: $43,843.2
Annual income gain: $16,089.6
Increase avg annual income of: 58% → (from $27,753.6 to $43,843.2)
Note that the most dramatic economic impact we can have is when we move from someone from joblessness (i.e. $0 income) to getting a job. Unfortunately, the numbers cannot reflect the additional impact we had on applicants that were able to not lose their job due to getting a car!
Every SCC car costs $900 and is worth on average $5200; our buyers get a $900, 0% interest loan and make twelve, $75 monthly payments over one year to pay it off. We underwrite the car loans as our car buyers are overwhelmingly in the subprime category (a credit score of 600 or under) and would otherwise be either unable to get a loan, or could get one at a 10% – 15% interset rate. A review of our loan performance in 2022 shows that our “risky” car buyers are paying back their loans and rebuilding their credit too: Only 2.9% of our buyers missed payments vs the US average of 5.1% (i.e. 45% better) and the payments that they missed totalled only $500 of the $30,000 we underwrote!