Did you know Denver Rescue Mission has a fully functioning auto repair shop? For more than 18 years, we’ve ran the shop as part of our Vehicle Donation Program. We created this program to provide transportation for graduates of Mission programs including the New Life Program, STAR Transitional Program and Family Rescue Ministry. The men and women who complete our long-term programs often require reliable transportation to secure employment. Owning a vehicle makes one less barrier for these deserving individuals to overcome on their road to success. The shop also provides services such as repairs and maintenance.
And the shop just got a new volunteer! 18-year-old, Amanda Dungan, began volunteering at the shop earlier this summer. She comes every Tuesday to offer her time and skills to fix cars and further her experience in mechanical engineering. It is inspiring to see that such a young and bright mind is willing to get her hands dirty to be of service for those less fortunate.
When I first met Amanda, she was wearing cowboy boots, so it was no surprise to hear that she was born in Texas. Eventually, her family consisting of her mom, dad, sister and herself moved to Denver. Amanda had a very active childhood and continued her active lifestyle throughout high school. She has a tendency to pick up a hobby and run with it. By the age of 18, Amanda has been a swimmer, tennis player, horseback rider, hiker and archer.
Unlike most teenagers, Amanda already knows her true passion and what she wants to achieve in life. She plans on attending Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall of 2016 with a major in Mechanical Engineering. Amanda first started repairing cars in high school, when her school offered a one-day car repair workshop that taught her how to change brake pads. Not long after, she wanted to get more hands-on experience, so she enrolled in a “Cars 101” class at Front Range Community College.
As a recent graduate of Valor Christian High School, Amanda’s always heard about Denver Rescue Mission. When she discovered the mechanic volunteer opening, she felt selfishly excited because she got to learn so much and build her resume while getting to volunteer. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Amanda is full of compassion and heart and truly enjoys what she does at the shop.
Her favorite part about working in the shop is working hand-in-hand with her two supervisors, Russ and Don. Amanda quickly learned to love the work environment and the community it brought her. It was an instant connection. She says she loves the shop because “the guys are super funny and know how to have a great time!”
Russ and Don say that they love her desire to learn and her lack of fear to tackle any task. “She loves trying and does a great job trying,” they said. “She’s open to any work. She may need some direction, but her ambition is the best we’ve seen.”
Amanda is willing to do whatever her bosses need her to do. “I clean a lot of gaskets, do oil changes, inspect cars, making sure things are okay and write down what’s wrong with them,” she said. “After that, we check tires and brake pads, and whatever needs to be fixed, we fix it.”
Amanda pays great attention to detail making it easy to recognize malfunctioning parts that are wrong, like leaks. In the future, Amanda has the desire to learn all about cars. She wants to be well versed in the vocab and parts of cars, just like her supervisors Russ and Don.
So far, her favorite cars to fix are Toyota’s. “I have a new earned respect for them because they just keep going and going,” she said. “They’re awesome and they never die— it’s amazing.”
As Amanda matures and attends college, her supervisors want her to succeed at what God has called her to be. She’s already made such an impact on the lives of our program graduates and all the guys she works with in the shop. Russ and Don add, “She makes it fun again, to do what we do.”