Students Partner With Second Chance Cars To Support Disabled Veterans

Manuel, Nivicari and Desire, a disabled U.S. Navy veteran, stand with Second Chance Cars Executive Director Dan Holin in front of the 2008 Toyota Prius.Photo: Courtesy of Greater Lawrence Technical School

ANDOVER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – A partnership between a technical school and local non-profit is giving students a chance to help veterans.

Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover has partnered with Second Chance Cars, a Concord-based organization that provides refurbished and affordable used cars to low-income veterans. On Thursday, students who are part of this partnership presented a refurbished Toyota Prius to a disabled U.S. Navy veteran, Desire, and her family.

"This really helps our family get further in life, as it will allow my husband to commute to work and help our daughter get to all of her needed doctors’ appointments," Desire said. "This will really give us the opportunity to advance our family."

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Desire’s 4-year-old daughter Nivicari suffers from cystic fibrosis and congenital heart defects that called for her heart to be reconstructed. The family faces their daughter’s illness while they struggle to find housing. Desire said she was awarded the car after her family participated in Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week and during the unveiling, Desire expressed her gratitude for the opportunity.

"Our daughter can't believe we have a car that's ours and keeps asking when we have to give it back,” she said. “This is such a much-needed blessing.”

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Nivicari took no time exploring the car as Alexis Cabrera, a junior in the automotive technology program, attached a license plate. Cabrera hopes to become an engineer after high school.

"I feel proud” he said. "It was an honor to be able to pass something good like this along."

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The Prius will help Desire’s husband Manuel pick up more shifts at work and help provide a more stable income for his family. With some 100 cars donated thus far, Executive Director of Second Chance Cars Dan Holin said this award was one of the most meaningful.

"This family has been under so much pressure dealing with housing insecurity and a daughter with complex, dangerous illnesses,” Holin said. "This is the whole reason Second Chance Cars exists. This provides economic empowerment to a veteran by providing access to affordable transportation."

Second Chance Cars operates from people who donate gently used vehicles. More information about the non-profit and their vehicle donation process is available online.

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