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Youth Automotive Training Center Graduates Its 750th Student

Annual Celebration Recognizes Award-Winning Students from the Class of 2019

The Youth Automotive Training Center (YATC), a unique nine-month automotive training program which provides intensive instruction and hands-on training in automotive theory and practical skills, recently graduated its 750th student as part of the Class of 2019. 

Download high resolution photos with captions from the YATC graduation

Established by automotive legend and JM Family Enterprises founder Jim Moran in 1984, YATC’s mission is to train and educate at-risk youth in basic automotive repair skills, academic remediation, job readiness and life management skills. The goal of this program is to prepare at-risk young adults to become self-sufficient, productive, law-abiding citizens.

“YATC taught me that family is more than just blood,” said 22-year-old Martin Baena, a 2019 graduate who was recognized during the ceremony. “If Mr. Moran were still here today, which he is in all of our hearts, I would thank him for the second chance that nobody else would have given me.”

Equally valuable to automotive training, the school provides emotional support from the caring staff — three of whom are YATC graduates — and imparts educational and practical life skills. Guided by educators and volunteer tutors from the community, eight of this year’s graduates earned their high school diplomas and five are pursuing their diplomas following graduation. During the commencement ceremony, 12 graduates were awarded scholarships for continuing education, six of whom received special recognition for notable achievements.

Baena received the Bruce Rossmeyer Memorial Kick Start Scholarship Award. Established in 2009 by Jan Moran in memory of Bruce Rossmeyer, this recognition includes a full-tuition scholarship to attend a technical/vocational school. Rossmeyer, founder of Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson and Daytona Toyota, was a devoted friend and generous supporter of YATC.

Other standout award recipients include:

Michael Somers, 20, was presented with the Jump Start Award for excellence in automotive knowledge and repairs.
Damian Varona, 20, was honored with the Turnabout Award for making significant changes in all areas of his life.
Eduardo Bretz Jr., 19; Jarkevius Nemec, 19; and Michael Whitaker, 20, all received Outstanding Attendance Awards for demonstrating exceptional commitment.

YATC also awarded Joe O’Brien, founder of the O'Brien Automotive Team, with the annual Jim Moran Award. This recognition, which was presented by Larry McGinnes, president, YATC Board of Directors; and Terry Routley, executive director, YATC, acknowledges a person or group who has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the school and its students.

"Joe has been a loyal and dedicated friend of YATC for many years. He's a true 'car guy' at heart. He recognized the value of the automotive skills graduates gain at YATC and has supported the program ever since. We are so grateful to have Joe on our team," said Routley.

Students are referred to YATC in a variety of ways, including through the departments of Juvenile Justice and Children and Families, as well as by past YATC graduates, local clergy and word of mouth. Many of these young people have experienced poverty, crime, abuse and addiction even before reaching their teen years. There is no cost to attend as the program is sustained solely by generous donors and the school’s annual fundraiser. This year’s event, Art of Success, is scheduled for Saturday, November 9. This inaugural appreciation and fundraising effort will be an all-day event at the school followed by an evening reception at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
 
For more information about YATC, visit www.yatc.org or call 954.428.0909. YATC is located at 399 SW Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Deerfield Beach.
 
About the Youth Automotive Training Center

Established by Jim Moran in 1984, the mission of the Youth Automotive Training Center is to train and educate at-risk youth in basic automotive repair skills, academic remediation, job readiness and life management skills. The goal of this program is to prepare young adults who are at a disadvantage in their lives to become self-sufficient, productive, law-abiding citizens. Students are referred to YATC in a variety of ways, including through the Departments of Juvenile Justice and Children and Families, as well as YATC graduates, local clergy and word of mouth. For more information about the Youth Automotive Training Center visit www.yatc.org or call 954-428-0909. YATC is located at 399 S.W. Third Ave., Deerfield Beach, Fla.