An innovative program that pairs young people and hot cars is coming to Bayview, on the road to a brighter future.
In Project Wreckless, at-risk youths will be trained to rehab classic autos, rejuvenating ‘70’s-era muscle cars to be sold for big money at auction. Participants will receive job training, scholarships and mentoring in the seven-month program.
The 12 youths in the program will be exposed to a wide variety of workplace functions – seven in all. Each spends 12 weeks working as a mechanic, and then rotates among management jobs such as human resources, accounting and safety.
When the car, purchased for $10,000, is ready to roll, it will be sold at a national auction – for at least $100,000. That money goes back into the program, paying for scholarships and job placement, plus another car for the next Project Wreckless crew.
“Project Wreckless is a capacity development program for at-risk youth that’s centered on automobiles,” says Jordan Langer, founder of the nonprofit. “We’re having at-risk youth learn how to become more confident in themselves and be able to conquer any task. And we’re learning that through the very fundamentals of vehicles.”
A side benefit is the group’s $1 million purchase of the former Metro PCS building at 1449 Mendell St. in Mendell Plaza, vacant for the past five years. It will become the Project Wreckless auto restoration center, including office space.
“We have significant plans in store for improving the facade, interior and surrounding area of the building,” Langer told the hoodline website. “And we’re very much looking forward to working with our neighbors at Old Skool Cafe and Bishop’s Burgers to bring new life to Mendell Plaza… We could not be more excited to call Bayview home.”
The city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) helped Langer acquire the building, where he also plans to headquarter his event planning business, Non Plus Ultra. He’ll be contributing to a number of community events, including 3rd on Third and the Bayview Pop-Up Market, Hoodline reported.
“We’re very excited to welcome Mr. Langer to the Bayview,” said Joaquin Torres of OEWD. “We know that it will go a long way towards supporting our efforts to activate Mendell Plaza, in a way that’s aligned with the community vision for this space and the 3rd Street commercial corridor.”
Meanwhile, Langer is gearing up for a June 1 Gold Tie Gala at the Old Mint with the goal of raising $500,000 for Project Wreckless.
The fundraiser will feature silent auctions, live auctions, raffles, games, drinks and food. Among the special guests will be current and former NFL stars, UFC fighters, and other star-power supporters. On the auction block will be a gold-plated Harley Davidson, a custom wedding dress, and more.
Langer says 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the program, and he’s excited about both the project and the prospects.
“That car that we’re gonna be transforming from A to Z,” he says, “that’s just a representation of us transforming these kids’ lives from negative to positive.”