Terry Legan, president of non-profit group Auto Mission, was on-hand at the 2008 Automotive Service Association's (ASA) annual convention to explain the group's mission. The non-profit helps reach out to at-risk teenage boys.
AdvanstarAuto May 13,2008
'Turning Wrenches, Turning Lives'
By Terry Legan
Would you like to help?
Perhaps by now you have heard of Auto Mission. There have been stories about us in AutoInc., including a really good one in October 2004 called "Turning Wrenches, Turning Lives."
Auto Mission, which I founded in January of 2004, is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to changing lives through auto repair and the Christian gospel. With donated tools and volunteer technicians, the mission teaches troubled teens how to repair cars while leading them to make the right choices for their lives. The vehicles they repair are donated to local battered women's organizations or sold to pay for expenses such as rent, utilities and staff.
Auto Mission is one of the missions run by members of North Pointe Baptist Church in Hurst, Texas. It's only for boys. Mission Makeover, also run through North Pointe, involves girls with the Fort Worth Quilt Guild to make quilts for battered women's shelters and for newborns at the county hospital. My wife, Sherry, is in charge of Mission Makeover.
We have a lot of fun, but we never forget that we're here to help them. We're serious about it because we are focused on life repair as much as auto repair. We try to ensure that these kids will turn their lives around and become productive citizens. We're hopeful that many of these kids will become essential contributors of tomorrow's work force. And let me say that many of these youngsters decide they like repairing cars and want to go on to a technical school.
Keeping the missions going takes tremendous support, strong financial backing and a lot of faith in God.
Most sincerely, we appreciate ASA's support. Not the least of that support is the fact that members of ASA's staff regularly volunteer their time to work at the Tarrant Area Food Bank, sorting grocery items that have been donated. We work there too. And together, we accumulate enough hours that it enables some of our needy teens and their families to go there and get food for their tables.
We're excited about the new year and opportunities to help troubled youths. We plan to continue our mentoring program for teenage girls at Willoughby House, a halfway house in Fort Worth. We're recruiting mentors in other Texas cities, including Houston. And we will keep on providing a job training program for troubled teens.
If you are interested in what we are doing and would like to help in any way, please get in touch with me. I'd like to talk to you. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry Legan is president of Auto Mission, which he directs and manages. He also co-manages Mission Makeover Inc., which was founded by his wife, Sherry. To learn more about Auto Mission and what it is trying to accomplish, go to the AutoInc. Web site (www.AutoInc.org), click on back issues, and look for the story titled "AutoMission: Turning Wrenches, Turning Lives" that was in the October 2004 issue..
Article original published in Auto Inc. magazine click Here to read the article.
Written by Ron Pyle
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
I know that you are probably presented with many opportunities to contribute your time and money to efforts that are truly deserving, but Terry Legan is ‘one of us’ and his mission is in sync with our industry’s need to develop motivated and capable employees.
There are many worthy causes that deserve our support, but let me offer up one for your consideration that just happens to be my favorite.
A few years ago, my youngest son was struggling to keep himself out of trouble. He was going through a tough period in his life and had decided that going to school was optional. Of course, he and I did not agree, but he pushed the envelope nonetheless and pretty soon his truancy resulted in some civil fines he couldn’t pay without my help.
I exercised the option of letting him suffer some consequences for his actions, and he was required to do “community service” to clear up his obligation to the court system. There were several options available to him, but the supervisor in charge highly recommended that I take my son to meet Terry Legan. I remember her telling me how successful Terry was in getting the attention of young men.
Terry runs an operation called “Auto Mission,” and I was so impressed with him and what he was doing in the lives of troubled youth, that I asked the AutoInc. editorial staff to do a story on Terry and AutoMission to spread the word.
Fast forward a few years, and many success stories later: Terry has been plugging along, doing what he does best, but some of his financial support has disappeared because of budget cuts. However, the demand for his particular style of counseling and tough love continues to grow. Terry has shouldered a lot of the burden out of his own pocket, but that can’t last much longer. He recently came by to see me and ask if I had any ideas about how we could keep his program alive.
I know that you are probably presented with many opportunities to contribute your time and money to efforts that are truly deserving, but Terry is one of us and his mission is totally in sync with our industry’s need to develop motivated and capable employees.
My son celebrated his 21st birthday in November. There were many days and nights over the past few years that we weren’t certain he would survive to do so. He called me on the phone this afternoon to tell me about a new job and how excited his is to be starting it tomorrow. As I thought about how proud I was to hear this good news from him, it occurred to me that Terry Legan’s tough love was instrumental in making that possible.
To read the original Blog Post click Here.
ASA explores charitable avenues
Association provides office space to non-profit, 'adopts' local families Publish date: May 6, 2008
By: Chris Miller
LicenseSANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has a distinct mission to reach out to the consumer, but it also sets its sights on giving back to the community it serves.
The association has provided office space and made financial commitments to a non-profit group that helps teach at-risk youth skills in the automotive industry, one of a number of charitable actions undertaken by ASA in its efforts to reach beyond the consumer.
Texas-based Auto Mission has helped more than 800 troubled young men realize they have a place in society, says ASA President Ron Pyle, who delivered a State of the Association address at the group’s annual convention last weekend.
“We need to be a force for positive, ethical, responsible automotive repair, but we also have an element of our association that I’m really proud of, and that is, we give back,” says Pyle. “We have a generous staff, and our staff has big hearts.”
Led by Terry Legan, Auto Mission reaches out to at-risk teenage boys within the Texas prison and court system to help teach them auto-related skills and better their lives by restoring vehicles. One particular young man is now an engineering student at college and working at AutoZone, says Legan, who adds more than 300 cars have been donated since the group’s inception, some of which have been passed on to people of need.
Those interested in donating money, parts, training or vehicles can visit http://www.automission.org/.
“Some day, some of these young men can be working for you,” says Pyle, who adds, Legan touches the lives of each and every one of those his organization helps.
Continuing its philanthropic spirit, ASA also adopts families each year around the holidays and provides them with gifts, an action in which donations are matched by the association.
Click Here to read the article in Aftermarket Busines News
The Baptist Standard
Terry Legan (center) works with young men to rebuild a car motor. Legan’s Auto Mission helps young men in legal trouble rebuild their lives. (Photos by Angela Best)
Auto mission rebuilds engines, troubled lives
By Laura Frase--Communications Intern
HURST—Terry Legan believes no car should end up in a junkyard. Neither should a young life. Both are salvageable.
With this in mind, Legan began Auto Mission as an outlet for troubled boys because “all teenage guys are interested in cars and girls, … and I don’t know much about girls.”
Auto Mission helps young men learn to rebuild car engines—and troubled lives.
Like the cars brought to his shop, the boys need special attention.
More than 500 young men have completed community service hours at Auto Mission after they were sentenced by Texas Youth Services, Texas Youth Commission or the Community Learning Center for alcohol or drug abuse or various other charges.
The ministry “introduces the boys to the gospel and how to make right choices and decisions in life,” Legan said. “And they learn basic auto mechanics.”
He works with groups of young men to repair and rebuild cars. While they work on rusted and dirty parts, Legan talks with them about cars, racing, setting priorities and God.
“Even junk cars can be restored and brought back to life,” he said. “Through Christ, broken lives can be restored and made new again.”
Legan serves as a Baptist General Convention of Texas LifeCall Missionary. This program, which helps volunteers find a place to serve, is undergirded by the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions.
Auto Mission stays alive through donations from individuals who express a desire to help teens.
People in the community donate all the cars and snacks for the young men. When the boys finish a repair project, they return the favor to the community by giving the car to a local charitable organization.
“Some cars are donated to Open Arms Home and to Community Enrichment Cen-ter,” Legan said. “We also are working on a handicapped van that will go to a pastor.”
Along with teaching the boys about helping others, Legan teaches them the similarity between life and cars. He helps change their lives like he rebuilds cars—by cleaning and repairing one piece at a time.
Legan has watched young men give up drugs. They’ve stopped drinking alcohol. They’ve started making better life decisions. Most importantly to him, he’s seen young people give their lives to Christ.
“If you don’t take care of your car, it will break down,” he said.
“Cars take routine maintenance and care. Lives take routine maintenance and care. This is where God comes
Auto Mission helps young men learn to rebuild car engines—and troubled lives
To read this article in The Baptist Standard click Here.
Auto Inc. October 2004 by Alexis Gross
Auto Mission Founder Terry Legan is shown above with his students and volunteers. Standing l-r: Legan, Ben, Volunteer Terry Gibson (in car), Volunteer Paul Dean, Daniel and Volunteer Kelley Stone. Kneeling l-r: Steven, Danny and Luke.
Terry Legan is a man with a mission - an Auto Mission. Legan is founder and president of Auto Mission, a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to changing lives through auto repair and the Christian gospel. With donated tools and volunteer technicians, the mission teaches troubled teens how to repair cars while leading them to make the right choices for their lives. The finished vehicles are then donated to local battered women's organizations or sold to pay for expenses like rent, utilities and staff.
Legan, though, is not into titles, saying, "I'm really here for the boys." Auto Mission, one of the missions run by members of North Pointe Baptist Church in Hurst, Texas, is only for boys. Mission Makeover, also run through North Pointe, involves girls with the Fort Worth Quilt Guild to make quilts for battered women's shelters and for newborns at the county hospital.
"It's important to keep boys and girls separate in this environment because a lot of these boys are from divorced families and they don't have a guy to talk to," said Legan. "The girls are similar in that they sometimes need a woman to talk to who's not their mother. Everyone needs someone to confide in, and if you put guys and girls this age together, they're going to act like guys and girls, and you'll never get anything serious out of them."
Getting serious is necessary, said Legan, because the organization is focused on life repair as much as auto repair.
"We have a lot of fun, but we're here to try and help them," he said. "Our No. 1 goal is to make sure they have transportation to heaven. We tell these guys that life is all about the decisions they make, and we try to help them make the right ones."
There are three kinds of boys at Auto Mission: volunteers who have never been in trouble, boys sent to the mission by municipal and teen courts to perform community service, and boys sent by the Texas Youth Commission who were incarcerated and are now on parole. "No matter why they're here," Legan said, "We treat everyone the same."
"They don't know why each one is here unless they want to talk about it," he said. "We encourage them all to talk about it, but we've had five young men who've been slightly mentally retarded and nobody knew it. For the first time in their lives, they were treated like they were completely normal, and their confidence and self-esteem skyrocketed."
Many boys confide that their family is not "Leave it to Beaver." For most of the boys coming through the court system, it's their first time to be in trouble. However, even the repeat offenders, the drug dealers and the gang members are often just searching for a place they feel comfortable and something that they can belong to, he said.
"The first thing we do is ask what brings them here and open up a conversation," said Legan. "A lot of these kids don't have conversations with adults. They don't know how to open up. We try not to ask any question that can be answered 'yes,' 'no' or 'fine.' We try to ask questions that will get them to open up and talk to us."
After this orientation, the boys are taken through the shop, shown the tools and have procedures explained to them. The kids are then ready to work on the cars while the adults supervise and explain. The repairs they perform range from basic maintenance to total restoration. The only thing the shop can't do is automatic transmission repair and painting.
"We talk to them about life while we're working on the cars," said Legan. "We want to know what's going on with them, what happened that day and how things are at home."
Adam, 15, came to Auto Mission six months ago to do community service for a curfew violation. Now he's a volunteer. "I used to be really into cars," he said. "I knew a lot of things about the outside, but nothing about the inside. Now I know about the engine, how to weld, how to change brake pads and set the gas tank."
Adam said he used to drink and do drugs, but hasn't touched that in months since coming to the mission. He, like other boys, has brought friends to the mission.
In addition to learning new skills and cleaning up their lives, the boys also benefit by knowing their work has meaning.
"We tell them they're not allowed to touch a car without permission while it's in the shop. We don't ever lean on cars or sit on cars or draw in the dust on cars. We treat them with a great deal of respect because it may not look like much to us, but to the woman who's getting that car, it's a real treasure," said Legan. "A lot of the guys have never really completed anything. When they see that they've done something good here, and we tell them it's going to a battered woman, they get a tremendous sense of accomplishment."
The mission operates daily, except Sunday, from 3-8 p.m. The boys show up, sign in and get to work. They work on cars for an hour, then take a break for snacks and discussion. The topic can be anything from a Bible passage to family issues, school concerns, or even how to ask a girl out on a date.
Auto safety is a frequent subject. "We talk a lot about the safety issues with cars, including speeding and maintenance" said Legan. "We stress street racing issues a lot, because they're teenage boys and they're going to want to get behind the wheel of a car and go fast."
In fact, there is one car repaired at Auto Mission that Legan says he can never part with. It's an '88 Mustang with a 5.0 engine, and Legan is sure that if he ever sells or donates the car, it will wind up in the hands of a teenager who will not be able to resist the lure of its street racing potential.
Legan uses some of the donated vehicles to illustrate the dangers of driving.
Terry Gibson discusses the gospel with Ben and Luke during a break.
"Some of the cars we get through here can't be repaired so we do an autopsy on them. We tear them down to the frame so the boys can see there's not a whole lot there to protect them in a wreck. They don't know that, and they think they're indestructible," he said. "There are so many variables out there you can't control: trees, telephone poles, distracted drivers talking on cell phones. We tell them that even with millions of dollars in equipment and a controlled environment, Dale Earnhardt still got killed, and there's no way they can expect to get in any car out here at any kind of speed and get away with it."
Legan began Auto Mission in January of 2004, less than a month after receiving the idea from God, he said. Since that time, the organization has received more than 50 donated cars and repaired or dismantled them with the help of more than 300 boys who have worked more than 5,000 hours. Legan sees a need for Auto Missions across the country.
"There are a lot of teenagers in trouble out there, and every teenage boy is interested in cars," Legan said. However, he cautioned, starting such an organization takes tremendous support, strong financial backing, and a lot of faith in God.
"The legal hurdles are just tremendous," he said. "For a shop alone, it's hard to find insurance, and then you mention teenagers and volunteers and they just laugh. We went through 25 companies before we found one that agreed to insure us."
But the results are good for everyone, including the repair industry.
"We've had a whole bunch of young men that want to take the next step and enroll in technical school. They think this is something they'd like to do and we introduce them to it," Legan said. "A lot of these kids don't know that the industry is good, that it pays really well and that it's not greasy mechanics like it used to be. It's really a profession that ranks right up there with doctors and lawyers."
Click Here to read the article in Auto Inc. Magazine