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Auto body students give a lift to family in need

Restored car to be donated at Wednesday event

A family in need will receive the keys Wednesday to a smashed-up car that has been restored by auto body students at San Joaquin Delta College.

Four students spent about eight weeks repairing the donated car, and will be there Wednesday to meet the new owner, a mother of four who is homeless and can’t afford to buy a car of her own. Not only did the students gain some real-world experience, but the 2014 Honda Fit once again looks like new. “It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Delta Professor Larry Mariani. “The car was repaired to a professional standard.”

The giveaway was organized and funded by Fabian’s Collision Center, a Stockton-based auto body repair shop that participates in a national program known as “Recycled Rides.” Under the program, insurance companies — in this case, Esurance — donate damaged cars to auto shops, which fix the cars and work with nonprofit organizations to find people in need.

Partnering with Delta students was “just perfect,” said Fabian’s owner, Fabian Ceballos. “They learn how to fix cars while at the same time doing a service to the community.”

What: “Recycled Rides” car giveaway

When: 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 25

Where: Davis Elementary School, 5224 E. Morada Lane, Stockton

Who: Delta College auto body students and Fabian’s Collision Center will give a newly restored 2014 Honda Fit to Nancy Valencia, a mother of four who, until now, had to walk her children to school along a potentially dangerous frontage road.

Why: Over 1,000 vehicles have been donated through the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program since 2007. Fabian’s Collision Center has now been involved in four restorations. This is the first time Delta students have been brought on board to help. Delta offers certificates in auto body repair and restoration.

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