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City Life Wheels gives students free automotive training, but leaders say it's about much more

The program pairs students with mentors
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Posted at 8:51 PM, Feb 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-12 20:51:45-05

Every Tuesday night on Indy's near East side, a group of students are getting their hands dirty learning basic automotive skills.

"Changing oil, some basic stuff I didn't know until they showed me how to do it," Justice White said. "Restoring rust, taking rust off of metal, and taking the wheels off."

White is a 14-year-old Pike High School student who is trying to figure out what he wants to do after high school.

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He's taking part in the City Life Wheels program which allows kids to test out their automotive skills.

"All of our students are searching and seeking for what is their "why." Our goal is to come alongside those students, and help them identify 'what is that "why" in their life that gives them a drive and gives them a purpose?'" Curtis Adkins, Director of City Life Wheels said.

The program serves students ages 12 to 19 who primarily live on the near East side. Many of the students attend Arsenal Tech High School or Purdue Polytechnic, but the program is open to all students.

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"We have some kids that come here because they love cars, and they love working on cars. We have other kids that come because they just love the community. They love being part of something and being involved with something," Adkins said.

Changing tires and oil isn't the only focus at City Life Wheels. Adkins says the students they work with are building self confidence and life skills from the adult mentors.

"It's about that network and those relationships that are being built that hopefully, ultimately will make a difference in that student's life," Adkins said. "Whether from something small like a connection to a job, or something larger like a lifelong friendship, or mentorship."

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Brian Borshoff is starting year three of volunteering with City Life Wheels.

"A lot of the kids that we work with have got all kinds of things that they're dealing with, from home problems to whatever, and a lot of them don't realize that they have the capabilities inside of them," Borshoff said.

He says working on cars is something he gravitated to as a kid.

"I found myself, by working on something and taking it apart and putting it back together, it helped with your self worth," Borshoff said. "That's really, really important today... to be able to give somebody an opportunity to to make themselves better."

Click here to register a student for City Life Wheels

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