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In San Francisco, Muscle Cars Are Driving Opportunity

In recent decades, the historically under-invested Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco has had few opportunities to offer its youth. But a creative new program, “Project Wreckless,” is enlisting at-risk young people to rehab classic cars, and offers job training, scholarships and mentoring to boot. All in a formerly abandoned ex-factory that’s beginning to look pretty spiffy, thanks in part to a façade grant from LISC.

The excerpt below is from:
Youth-Run Auto Shop 'Project Wreckless' Opens In The Bayview
by Meaghan M. Mitchell, Hoodline

Yesterday, nonprofit Project Wreckless hosted an open house introducing the Bayview community to a new auto repair shop that's staffed by at-risk youth.

The organization was founded in 2015 by Jordan Langer of Pier 70 partners with the stated mission of offering young people "tools for life through an immersive curriculum centered around the restoration of badass cars."

Last year, Langer bought the building for $1 million. Since then, he's renovated the interior after hosting fundraisers around the city. Langer told Hoodline the group is a few thousand dollars short of its $500,000 goal.

“That’s not going to stop us," said Langer, president of event-management firm Non Plus Ultra and a partner in SoMa cocktail bar Oddjob. “We could raise a penny or million dollars, this program is going to continue.”

Project Wreckless was also one of five recipients of a $350,000 facade and tenant improvement grant from the city's Office of Economic Workforce Development, Bay Area LISC and the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.

Project Wreckless students and staff.
Project Wreckless students and staff.

Since acquiring the space at the corner of 3rd and Palou, Langer said it's been burgled several times. “We’ve had tools that are worth thousands of dollars stolen. It’s deflating, yet encouraging.”

Langer said the break-ins simply confirm that the job-training nonprofit is needed in the neighborhood.

“If a youthful member of the community went through a program like Project Wreckless or any programs similar to it like Old Skool Café, or 3rd St. Youth Clinic, this wouldn’t have happened," he said. "Youth who are engaged in these types of programs are more likely to make better decisions because they take ownership of their community.” Continued [+]...