Essay on Experience Volunteering at Wheels4Hope
By Hannah Klemmer
We all placed our hands on the car. It was the middle of September and the morning sun was peeking out behind the clouds. I was standing with one hand on my camera and the other on a bright red 2005 Toyota sedan. Behind the car was a sign with the words, “Wheels4Hope.”
Carol led the group in prayer, and I stepped back to snap a few photos. Cameramen from two local news channels were also in the background capturing the moment. After a minute, everyone stepped back to form a circle and I zoomed in my camera to photograph the smiles on the faces of the deserving family.
Wheels4Hope is a nonprofit organization that is faith and volunteer based. The mission of the organization is to provide reliable and affordable vehicles to economically disadvantaged families and individuals. Recipients of cars are referred through partner organizations and cars in good condition are donated by volunteers. Once a recipient is placed with a car, they purchase it at a reduced price. The recipient and their family are welcomed to a “car blessing,” which is a short ceremony where the recipient is blessed with ownership of their car.
As a volunteer for Wheels4Hope, I help with capturing the blessing through photographs. Since Wheels4Hope relies heavily on volunteers, it is important that the organization is publicly recognized by the community. I make contributions to the organization at each car blessing I attend when I take photos and send them to Wheels4Hope. Pictures I have taken have been used in Facebook posts, monthly newsletters, press releases, and even local news features.
I truly believe in the work that Wheels4Hope does. As a reward for my frequent contributions, I get the pleasure of sharing the experience of the car blessing with each recipient. At each car blessing, the recipient almost always talks about how grateful they are and how much better off their lives are going to be with a reliable form of transportation.
Attending car blessings warms my heart and makes me feel grateful for the little things in my life that I usually take for granted. As a girl who attends a charter school in the Research Triangle Park and lives in Cary, North Carolina, I am presented with many opportunities to be successful. What I have realized by going to these car blessings is that many people at my age are not presented with opportunities to be successful, nor are they guided in the right direction. As a result, when these people become adults, they struggle to get their lives back on track. Although owning and driving a car for most is a privilege obtained after a certain age, for some it is a reward for years of hard work.