En Español. Jacquelina Reyes worked in corrections for 16 years, but her heart has always been to serve the Hispanic population in the medical field. With support from Arizona Career Pathways, Jacquelina is a Phoenix College (PC) Nursing Program student.
“I know if I finish my nursing degree, I can help improve the lives of Hispanic people by communicating it’s good to go to a doctor,” Jacquelina said. “In Hispanic culture, sometimes we don’t want to speak up because we’re embarrassed to ask questions, so I want to encourage this population to go from fearful to proactive because we’re all in it together to grow.”
A single mother to a 16-year-old special needs daughter and two adult children, Jacquelina was driving with her daughter on the I-10 when a piece of metal hit her car, and the rear axle locked up. The damage to the vehicle made it unsafe to drive, making transportation to school and work challenging to navigate.
Arizona Career Pathways
Stephen Sparks, Executive Director of Arizona Career Pathways (ACP), noted that a 2015 Harvard study found transportation to be the most significant barrier to economic stability.
“Reliable transportation creates better job prospects and the stability to manage a complex world, especially if you have a family,” Stephen said.
ACP works with lower-income students willing to attend community college–especially Allied Healthcare nursing programs–to ensure students graduate with a career-focused certification or associate’s degree in a high-demand career field.
“If you have minimal economic means, school and work often become more expensive because you have all these extra burdens and fees,” Stephen said, such as high-interest car loans or child care late fees when public transportation schedules bring delays.
Enter Aaron Trudeau, founder of JC Supercars, a nonprofit that fixes up cars and gives them away to single moms.
“In the last thirteen years, we have given away 300 cars to single moms. It was on my heart to do something to help,” Aaron said about founding the organization in 2009 after his brother died and a single mom raised his brother’s daughter.
Layla Maroufkhani, an Arizona Career Pathways Career Navigator, alerted JC Supercars to Jacquelina’s need for a car and facilitated the surprise in PC’s nursing program parking lot on Tuesday, September 19. The car, decorated with a big red bow, was surrounded by staff and volunteers from Phoenix College, JC Supercars, and Arizona Career Pathways, who came out to show their support.
The Need for Giving
Heather Kruse, Phoenix College Vice President of Student Affairs, said, “We are so grateful to be part of this extraordinary experience for Jacquelina and her pursuit of becoming a nurse. We have so many students in need. This give-away is a great reminder of the generosity of our community and the collective responsibility we have to support students through the numerous barriers they may face on their journey to complete a college degree.”
The 2004 Crossfire, donated to JC Supercars by brother and sister Chris and Sue Feely, was owned by their father, who bought it to pick up Sue’s daughter from school. Sue is also a single mom but noted she was lucky: “I always had everything I needed.” After their father died a few years ago, the car sat in the garage. They contemplated selling it, but then Sue remembered a video she saw of another JC Supercars give-away and knew giving it to another single mom was what her father would have wanted. Coincidently, the give-away was on their father’s birthday, which made it extra emotional for Sue and another step in her grieving process. Jacqueline embraced Sue, thanked Sue and Chris for the car, and reassured them she would take good care of it. “It’s a blessing, and blessings come back to you. Your dad’s going to be happy,” she said.
With a reliable car, Jacqueline can focus on becoming a nurse and her philanthropy, which includes taking clothing and food to kids and students in Mexico and encouraging them to pursue an education. “If you don’t have the capacity to be a doctor or a surgeon,” Jacquelina tells the students, “go into welding, go into plumbing.” She’s eager to start a YouTube channel to teach kids their college options and how to fill out a FAFSA. Jacqueline's 22-year old daughter is also pursuing a nursing degree and her 16-year old wants to be a brain surgeon.
Cars, food, and encouragement are the kind of life-changing gifts that make college possible for students in need. Consider donating a car to JC Supercars or supporting Phoenix College students experiencing food insecurity with a tribute or recurring gift.