Modesto – May 18th – Burnside Body Shop will present Viliami Namomo, resident at Center for Human Services – Pathways, with a ­1998 Honda Civic.  A reception is being held Friday May 18, 2012 at Burnside Body Shop located at 612 N Franklin Street Modesto at 4pm. In the true spirit of giving local vendors have come together to make this event possible and Center for Human Services could not be more pleased!

According to Stephanie Burnside, Modesto City Council Woman and co-owner of Burnside Body Shop , “Each year the collision repair industry as a whole comes across cars that are “written off” by either the owner or the insurance company. Often times these are older vehicles that need some mechanical and body work to get them road ready and perfectly safe to drive. Because we believe these cars are going to waste when there are people who really need them, we decided to do something about it.”

“In this case we had a long time valued customer generously donate their vehicle after it has been recovered from a theft.  We then reached out to part vendors to acquire the necessary items to repair the vehicle and once people heard of this they were calling us with items to donate.  It’s been an amazing display of generosity and we’ve been so honored to witness it.”

Burnside Body Shop joined with members of Akzo Nobel AcoatÒ selected organizations to form the AcoatÒ selected National Benevolence Program, which is a community relations program that’s mission is to present refurbished cars to deserving individuals or organizations.

Last year, Burnside Body shop worked with Haven Women’s Center to help them identify an individual in need of reliable transportation. This year, Center for Human Services – Pathways was lucky enough to have one such deserving young man.  Here is his story:

Vili was born on May 4, 1989 to a heroin addicted mother.  He never really knew his father. Vili became a dependant of the courts when he was three years old, after he was found wandering the streets of East Oakland, CA.  He was eventually placed with relatives where he was the victim of physical and mental abuse and neglect. Vili grew up in the foster care system – constantly being moved from one placement to another. He was seven before he knew his true birth name, but could not spell or pronounce it. No matter the placement, he was considered emotionally unstable, suicidal, and unfit for normal foster family life. He was moved again and again.

                Now a young adult, Vili lives with barriers every day. His most difficult battle is with his addiction to alcohol. Vili enrolled in junior college. Although he earned a 3.0 grade point average, he only lasted one semester. His addiction had won. “I tried playing college football but of course my addiction got the best of me and I even tried working but ended up getting fired for being intoxicated at work.”  Vili understands if he chooses to drink alcohol again he could die.

                Vili became a Pathways resident in November of 2010. He attends weekly counseling sessions (at no cost); he believes his counselor is helping him find new ways to identify problems that arise from depression and post traumatic stress from his past. Vili says that Pathways provides the kind of environment that allows him to reach his goals. He also works with a drug and alcohol counselor and gets support from a case manager.  He has been in the Pathways program for over a year and has stayed clean and sober during this time.  He currently has two part time jobs. Vili spends time in the evenings with Pathways mentor staff and views staff as his own “personal advisors”. Vili also has a young son he loves very much.  He has been able to save a little money and has paid off all his debt. When he leaves Pathways he will be employed, have a small savings account, improved life skills and now, a car! He plans to continue working on his educational goals and wants to be a great father to his child. 

“This Honda Civic will change his life,” commented Pathways Program Manager Paula Harter, “We could not be more pleased that he was chosen.  We can’t wait to see what positive life changes will come from all of this.”  Center for Human Services is grateful for people in the community like Stephanie and Brent Burnside and their team of dedicated employees.  This gift will change lives.