Garage for Good gives back to domestic abuse survivors

GRAND CHUTE, Wisconsin (KTRK) -- A new auto repair shop that will fix cars while helping victims of domestic abuse at the same time has opened in Wisconsin.

The focus of this garage is to keep domestic abuse survivors self-sufficient, reports WFRV.

The Transportation Center of Fox Valley Technical College began a Garage for Good. A collaboration between two organizations fighting domestic abuse and committed to making sure survivors have a needed tool to reach financial independence.

"One of the main things about being financially secure is being able to get to employment, get around the community in an efficient way and that comes down to reliable transportation for so many people," said Beth Schnorr of Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs.

Three years ago, Harbor House and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services gave birth to the auto repair business after research found most women in abusive situations drove older cars needing major repairs.

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To help, domestic abuse advocates formed JumpStart, a garage offering auto repair for women, by women.

For the next year, they have set up shop at Fox Valley Technical College.

"The business plan is basically a garage for good," Schnorr said.

Open to the general public, a portion of their profits allow free or low-cost auto repair for domestic abuse survivors.

"Every three full paid customers will help a survivor get back on the road," said Schnorr.

"It's a blessing for us survivors," said one woman who did not want to be identified.

In an abusive marriage for eight years, one now-divorced survivor is still trying to get back on her feet. Driving a 19-year-old car, she came to JumpStart and found help.

"It's a godsend to allow us to get on with our lives," she said.

"It gives the community the opportunity to give back, to do good. Having regular maintenance done to cars or auto repairs are something we all need to be done," said Maria Wierichs of Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.

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