The Gift of Wheels

For nearly 14 years, Naperville CARES has repaired donated cars and given them to DuPage County residents in need. For their most recent donation they partnered with another local organization to help a young man achieve his dream.

23-year-old Terry Harris entered 360 Youth Services’ Transitional Housing program after his brother asked him to move out of his house.

“That was the best thing that could have happened to me because I wasn’t doing anything,” said Harris. “I didn’t know where I could go, so my pastor let me stay at his church for a few days. Then I called this place. From here I had a lot of issues, a lot of debt and stuff like that. As I got into this program I kind of struggled, but I started to pay off my debts.”

Harris is currently working a few part-time jobs in the area, but has been using his own two feet to get there. He recently received word that he would be able to pursue a passion of his, receiving a scholarship to enter barber school. But the program is in Joliet. Naperville CARES and 360 Youth Services worked together and thanks to a donation by Naperville resident Linda Shea, Harris now has a car to get to school.

“He’s so well deserving,” said Yasmeen Musa, Harris’ Case Manager at 360. “This car is going to mean everything to him. Before he got the news that he was getting the car he wasn’t quite sure how he was going to make it out to Joliet from Naperville. This actually came at the most awesome time for him so I know this is going to mean a lot.

Harris, Shea, and representatives from 360 and Naperville CARES recently gathered at Comprehensive Auto Repair to give the young man the keys to his new car: a green Subaru wagon.

“We’ve never really done this, connecting a donor with a receiver so that was very heartwarming when they hugged each other,” said Janet Derrick, Executive Director for Naperville CARES. “We’re just thrilled that it all worked out and she could see how she positively impacted someone else’s life.”

“I’m happy. I feel very good,” said Harris. “I’m thankful and I’m blessed that this all happened. Sometimes when you don’t feel like you deserve something, something good can happen.”

In addition to the car, Harris will receive two free oil changes- compliments of Naperville CARES.

Since starting the program in 1999, Naperville CARES has donated more than 520 cars. Their list is currently closed as they are in need of more donations.

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