Wheels of Change
Hello! My name is Kevin Barber(age 17) and I need your help raising money to help give homeless people the opportunity to work. Wheels of Change is a job program I co-founded for the homeless in San Diego, February 2018, along with Alpha Project (a nonprofit) and Mayor Faulconer. Wheels of Change, just in its 2nd year of operation has been, by all measures, a resounding success!
At Wheels of Change, we take interested homeless individuals on vans to pick up trash in the community, paying them $13/hr. At the end of the work day, workers are driven back to the Bridge Shelter, where they may also be offered a bed and/or social services. Our goal is to get the homeless connected with social services, into housing, and offer them the dignity of working. It's empowering! In addition, our homeless workers also do community outreach while working, as they invite other homeless individuals to come in off the streets and work with our program.
This past year, Wheels of Change employed 375 workers, who cleaned up more than 20 tons of trash! And, unbelievably, 56 cites have visited our program, including LA, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver, with the intent of starting programs similar to ours in their cities. Wheels of Change is a win-win for the homeless and our communities.
With 11,000 homeless people in San Diego, and long waitlists of individuals wanting to work, we have worked hard to expand this program. Just recently, in July 2019, with the generous support of the City and numerous donors, including the Lucky Duck Foundation, SDGE, the Davis Foundation, and Danna Foundation, we more than doubled the operation of our program. Now we can employ 100 homeless individuals per week. This will allow us to provide 5200 work opportunities this next year! We have been quite inspired by how much the homeless appreciate the chance to work.
Wheels of Change gives jobs to the homeless, helps get them services they need, and helps clean up our community. We all win! Our goal is to continue to expand to all districts of San Diego, and would love to get a 3rd van operating that could employ 10 more workers per day. Please consider making a tax deductible donation here. The money you give goes directly to Wheels of Change program at Alpha Project(a 501(c)(3)), who runs Wheels of Change. They have been working with our homeless in San Diego for 30 years. The money you donate, very simply, will put homeless people to work. Thank you for your support! It takes a village!
More information can be found on our website, http://www.wheelsofchangeprogram.com
TV MEDIA COVERAGE:
Wheels of Change-Fox 5 San Diego
California Live TV: Wheels of Change program
San Diego program employing homeless expands reach to help thousands
NBC 7: Politically Speaking: Teens Idea to Help The Homeless
KUSI: Homeless Work Program offers Tools For Empowerment
CBS Channel 8: New Program to Offer Part Time Jobs to Homeless
NATIONAL AND LOCAL NEWSPAPER COVERAGE:
CNN: 5 People who inspired us in 2018 and the impact they continue to have
CNN: The homeless in San Diego are getting jobs-thanks to a 16-year old boy
The Atlantic57: A TED talk inspires a 16 year old to start a nonprofit that puts homeless to work in San Diego
San Diego Union Tribune: TED talk, teenager led to homeless work program
San Diego Union Tribune: New program puts San Diego's homeless to work
Just wanted to give a quick update because we are growing! With 11,000 homeless people in San Diego, and long waitlists of individuals wanting to work, we have been working hard to expand Wheels of Change. Just this month, with generous financial support from the City and numerous individual and corporate donors, including the Lucky Duck Foundation, SDGE, the Davis Foundation, and Danna Foundation, we have more than doubled in size. We now run 2 vans 5 days per week and are employing 100 homeless individuals weekly. This will allow us to provide ~5200 work opportunities this coming year! Thank you for supporting us!
A few stats... This past year, Wheels of Change workers, cleaned up more than 20 tons of trash! Many homeless have come into shelter, applied for permanent jobs, and regained hope. And, unbelievably, 56 cites have visited our program, including LA, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver, with the intent of starting programs similar to ours in their cities. Wheels of Change is changing many lives.
Our recent expansion has also enabled us to move into many new areas to clean up trash including: Barrio Logan, Southeast SD, Memorial Oak Park, Mountain View, Shell town, downtown, East Village, Gas lamp Quarter, Horton Plaza, City Heights, Cortex Hill, North Park, and Hillcrest! Our next goal is to raise money for a 3rd van so we can employ 50 more homeless people per week, help more people, and clean up more of San Diego! Have a beautiful day and thank you!
PS: A few recent testimonials:
"My first time experience with Wheels of Change I did not know what to expect. When there was three tickets left, I hoped to be picked and thank God I was. It gave me a feeling of being useful to society and at the same time freedom. With money in your pocket you feel or I feel like I am somebody. The leader is awesome. He knows just how to run his crew, and his name is KB. He constantly strives to reach the ones still on the concrete and demonstrated repeatedly promoting the cause. I hope I am blessed with my number being pulled again. Thank you!" -Tobin
"This was my first time out on the Alpha Project Wheels of Change crew. This is a great program and it will help keep San Diego cleaner as well as the water front and ocean. The more we can do to keep our cities clean, the better. It was a pleasure to help Alpha Project because they have done so much to help me. Thanks to K.B. I’m off the streets and looking for a full time job. The money from today will go towards my phone bill which I need to get to work."-John
"First of all I would like to thank Alpha Project for allowing me this opportunity to make a little cash and doing something positive. I will take my money and bless others that are in need."- Arthur
"Today was my first day going out with Wheels of Change. The experience was different than what I thought. The experience is something that I would recommend for a person to feel better about themselves. With my $48, I am going to buy some pillows and some food to cook in the microwave. K.B. is a joy to work with and he makes your work experience fun. He is always patting someone on the back telling them 'good job.'"-Kevin
Just wanted to share a link to a YouTube show, "California Live", that featured Wheels of Change last week. Hope you enjoy it!!
Currently, Wheels of Change operates 1 van 3 days/week and our homeless are paid $11.50/hr. Alpha Project, a nonprofit (501(c)(3)), is running Wheels of Change.
Workers are so thankful for the opportunity to work with Wheels of Change, contribute to the community, and make a little money to buy their personal items, or buy a bus pass for a job interview. Over and over again, they tell us how inspired they are and how thankful they are that people care. They even line up at 2 AM every morning Wheels of Change operates, in order to have a chance to go out on the work crew!
Here are just a few of the stories from some of our homeless participants...
"My first experience with Alpha Project’s Wheels of Change was an enlightening experience. I watched many others assist less fortunate homeless people for a long time and to be homeless and still be able to clean a community and assist people myself is fulfilling. It’s like being able to perform my life’s work one step, one piece of trash, one person at a time. I hope I can continue to further help Alpha Project impact lives and communities. With my $46, I will use it for food and clothing for my people and myself."-Greg
"This was my first day working for Alpha Project and I am feeling very privileged to have this opportunity. I haven’t worked since 2014 so I am glad to have finally gotten a chance to get back on the job type of track. Thank you. I’m needing a bicycle so I am planning to save the $46. Thank you Wheels of Change for my chance to make my change for a better life for myself. This program is a blessing"-Annette
“Not only was the day pleasant, but so were the attitudes of people in the community. Seeing their smiles of approval bolstered my self-confidence. I soon found my head lifting higher as I helped beautify the area where I used to pitch my tent. You’re causing me to have faith in humanity again! THANK YOU!!”-Charles B.
"I would like to thank Alpha Project for giving me the opportunity to go out on Wheels of Change. Our supervisor had lots of patience and knowledge and gave good instructions. I will be giving $30 of the money I made to my wife for our savings for our future home, $10 will be used for myself and $6 for whatever my wife needs. Thank you for this opportunity. I greatly appreciate it and I hope to be a part of the work team again."-Gustavo
Financially, the City has committed $125,000 to help fund our program. Thanks to donors as yourselves, we have raised additional funding. Also, the Lucky Duck Foundation has donated a 2nd van. Peter Seidler (SD Padres), Dan Shea (Donovan’s Steakhouse) have been financial and strategic supporters of Wheels of Change. The Moores foundation, Davis Charitable fund etc are also supporters.
Our current goal is to raise more money so we can operate a 2nd van to employ 10 more homeless individuals daily, and also to find sustainable funding sources. We really appreciate your support and help in changing people’s lives. All donations are tax deductible. Have a blessed day and Happy Holidays!