Carter Myers Automotive “Moving Lives Forward Campaign”
On December 3rd, Carter Myers Automotive launched its partnership with University of Virginia Athletics with the primary objective of connecting the Cavalier fanbase with the automotive dealer’s mission of Moving Lives Forward. In spirit of this mission statement, CMA introduced the Moving Lives Forward campaign, which sought out to identify, recognize and reward individuals in the Charlottesville community who are making a positive impact, and in theme, Moving Lives Forward.
The community-focused initiative requested that fans nominate someone in their local community that they’ve noticed going above and beyond to positively impact others. After receiving an overwhelming number of heartwarming nominations, Carter Myers Automotive selected the top five nominees and gifted them each free tickets to attend the Men’s Basketball game vs. Clemson on Tuesday, February 28th. During halftime of this game, each of the nominees were asked to come onto the court where they were recognized for their amazing work and received gifts from the UVA men’s basketball team, as well as Carter Myers Automotive. While the top 5 nominees were recognized for their extraordinary work, CMA also announced two overall winners of this campaign, Kara McClurken and Ben Houchens. Kara and Ben have both endured many personal hardships of their own, however their relentless passion and desire to give back and pour into others was immediately noticed in the nominations submitted by their peers. At the end of this recognition, Liza Borches, President and CEO of Carter Myers Automotive, surprised each of top 5 nominees with $1000 to further support and enhance the amazing work that they are doing in the Charlottesville area. It is with great pleasure that we present our top 5 nominees for the Carter Myers Automotive Moving Lives Forward Campaign:
Kara, the Director of Preservation for UVA Libraries, is the Founder of Bennett’s Village, a nonprofit in Charlottesville, working to bring an All-Abilities playground to Charlottesville in honor of her son, Bennett. Bennett’s Village is named after a little boy who loved to play, whose birthday wish was to have a place in Charlottesville where he could play independently in his wheelchair. Bennett’s Village has partnered with the City of Charlottesville to build such a play space at Pen Park, where folks of every age and ability can come together and enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreational fun and adventure. Bennett’s Village invites all community members who believe that everyone should have a place to play to join them in their efforts to build this play space and honor his legacy. Bennett’s Village is dedicated to making the world a more inclusive place for ALL to play. To learn more, see bennettsvillage.org.
Ben, Senior Case Manager at The Crossings, has worked for 35 years with disadvantaged individuals in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area, most of whom have been chronically homeless. Many of his clients have struggled with addiction, mental illness, and poverty. A number of Ben’s former clients credit him for “saving their lives” because of his encouragement and support in improving their circumstances. At the same time, Ben has served as a part-time Minister performing two services each Sunday, plus marriages and funerals for anyone needing his services, including his clients, even while his own health has been steadily declining. Ben lost one of his kidneys to cancer in 2015 and can barely walk anymore but recently gave his cane to a client stating that, “he needs it more than me”. He has a heart condition, and a number of other serious ailments, however his passion of guiding and supporting others has never wavered. Ben has fostered a legacy in the Charlottesville community, which has culminated in positively touching the lives of thousands of individuals over the past 35 years by dedicating his life to Moving Lives Forward in this community.
Rachel is a 3rd grade teacher at Clark Elementary School and a UVA Class of 2021 graduate. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she was unable to perform in-person training, however she has seamlessly transitioned into the classroom setting, and has gone above and beyond to connect with her students. Many of her students are from homes where English is a second language. Not only has she helped her students learn English, but she has helped some of her students’ parents with their English and has even helped some navigate employment opportunities. In addition, This past fall, she registered a soccer team within the community, which she coached through Soccer Organization Charlottesville Area. Not only did she help the kids get registered, but she provided transportation to practices and games for several of the kids. Thank you Rachel for going to extraordinary heights to mold our leaders of tomorrow!
Will Jones is the founder of Prolyfyck, an organization that uses running and physical fitness as an outlet for minorities, specifically Black individuals, in the Charlottesville community. Prolyfyck was founded in the summer of 2018, and has since then been featured in articles published by New York Times, Boston’s National Public Radio, and Runner’s World. Prolyfyck is more than a running community. To be “prolyfyck” is a way of life, it’s a culture. The organization’s main purpose is to work for the empowerment of those who support it, especially the historically marginalized Black and Brown communities. The group encourages all to look deep within themselves to find their gifts and tap into their passions, working together with a spirit of unity and love to create a world where everyone can by Prolyfyck! To learn more about this organization or join them in upcoming events, please visit https://prolyfyck.com/
Chris is the CEO of The Fatherhood Foundation of Virginia, which is a non-profit that’s purpose-driven, strengthening men to become better husbands, co-parents, and more active fathers to drive true systemic change in the Commonwealth. The organization aims to promote fatherhood in the community and strengthen the connection of men in the lives of their children. The group goes to jails and rehabilitation centers to help mold better men for their families upon re-entering society. Many of these men did not have positive male role models in their lives growing up, however want to be that person for their children. Chris is the father of 4 boys and leads by example with his dedication to his family sometimes taking on extra work to help provide for them. This past December, the Fatherhood Foundation of VA honored 27 dads facing financial and/or physical hardship from Richmond, Charlottesville, Norfolk and other communities throughout the state with its FATHER Christmas initiative. Through this programming, Chris, alongside The Fatherhood Foundation of VA, provided a $500 cash gift and presents for each of the father’s to use as needed during the holidays. This initiative culminated in over $13,000 in cash and over $15,000 in presents being distributed during this past holiday season. Thank you, Chris, for promoting fatherhood in the community and strengthening the connection of men in the lives of their children!
To learn more about The Fatherhood Foundation of Virginia, please visit https://vadad.org/ to learn more.