In 2001 Veronica Pope held a simple fundraiser on donated sites in Pittsburg California to garner support for at-risk youth with little or no resources.
At the time, more than one in four youth in East Contra Costa County California lived in a low-income household, and violence against youth was a serious public health problem in California.
Ms. Pope, a Mental Health Intervention Specialist in Pittsburg public school settings, recognized the need for community support particularly during non-school hours, decided to focus her fundraising efforts on these youth. She started The Hip Hop Volunteer Community Car Wash Program.
Since PWC only needed a site on weekends, PWC operated the car wash on two donated sites in Pittsburg (Car Quest Auto Supply Store provided its parking lot and the water to wash the cars and Railroad Junction Daycare Center the electricity for the vacuum cleaner and other electronic devices.)
As the car wash program continued to grow and become more popular with the youth and their parents, school districts, probation, law enforcement and others, PWC was in need of a bigger and permanent site for car washing activities.
It took more than a year, but thanks to a long-standing relationship with the city of Pittsburg, PWC found the right space – city owned lease property 3945 Railroad Avenue from which to operate the car wash.
Established in 2003, the car wash program provides positive alternatives for youth with challenges that are from culturally different, low-income, and other disadvantaged groups in East Contra Costa County California in fear of entering the juvenile criminal justice system.
The car wash has served more than 2500 at-risk and high risk youth since its inception. The car wash provides a way to connect youth – who would otherwise be isolated – to their community through volunteerism and civic engagement.