Hands of The Carpenter (Hands) offers hope to single working women with dependent children, while providing automobile services, partnering in their efforts to remain employed and to strive toward economic self-sufficiency.
In April 2003 CEO/founder Dan Georgopulos, his wife Brenda, and key leaders established Hands of The Carpenter (Hands). The organization received its 501(c)(3) designation in December of that year, and has been in operation ever since. The inspiration to start Hands came from the founders' experience operating a church outreach program to single women in the west central Jefferson County area. Hearing stories of financial vulnerability due to abuse, potential homelessness, separation from a spouse/partner, etc., they learned about the women's difficult situations. The women spoke about their fears of losing jobs if they couldn't get themselves to work to maintain their income. The team's hearts were touched and they saw that a focused effort was needed to provide timely automotive services by qualified technicians for women needing safe and reliable transportation to achieve self-sufficiency. While wanting to be of service across the entire Denver area, the decision was made that it would be best to begin by mainly serving residents of one area - Jefferson County. This grant will support continued program operations in Jeffco as Hands also prepares to launch a second facility in late 2021 to serve the Broomfield, SE Boulder County, and W Adams County area.
Strategic steps have been implemented to ensure that Hands stays on course towards achieving its mission. From the start, Hands established working relationships with repair shops, churches and other nonprofits and community agencies. In 2010, Hands began operating its own automobile repair business in central Lakewood to serve the general public, subsidize women's repair jobs, and increase Hands' program capacity. By operating its own shop and with partner automotive businesses, Hands is able to provide affordable services for clients, while ensuring program expenses are covered. In the summer of 2016 Hands acquired a well-known local vehicle donation/placement program. That step created the opportunity to place inexpensive cars with single women who didn't have vehicles Hands could repair. In 2017 Hands made the significant decision to purchase a property on S. Golden Road, enabling the organization to operate more efficiently out of the one facility. In November 2018, because of increased revenue from the dispossession of donated cars, Hands was able to eliminate auto repair work for the general public. This enabled Hands staff to increase the number of service appointments for clients. In 2020, while supporting clients impacted by the pandemic and implementing operational procedures to help stop the COVID-19 spread, Hands finished the year completing a multi-year strategic plan for growth across the Denver metro area.
Over 17 years Hands has assisted thousands of single women and their families with their automotive needs. In 2019, Hands served 202 different women providing them with 829 services (an average of 4.09 services per woman, which was a significant increase from the 1.6 services per woman experienced in 2017 & 2018). 2019 services included 494 Vehicle Repairs (compared to 144 in 2017 and 244 in 2018), 58 Vehicle Placements, and 277 follow up Maintenance Services with car care education woven into each service component to empower the women to partner with Hands in maintaining their vehicles.
Hands of The Carpenter:
Helping Single Moms on the Road to Self-Sufficiency
By Angela Bevacqua, freelance writer
Brooke was faced with multiple crises when Covid-19 hit the Denver area. She lost her housing, her work hours were reduced, and she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Without proper housing Brooke couldn't care for her two children. She was relying on the children's father-her former partner-to house the children until she found something new. On top of this, her car was out of commission, unrepairable.
Hands of The Carpenter (Hands), a Golden-based nonprofit, helps women like Brooke. It is the only organization in the area that provides cars and car repair services for struggling single moms. "Women lose jobs when their cars break down," explained a client services manager at Hands. "Then things literally start to spiral, and the women and their children are in danger of homelessness and poverty." Hands believes a car is more than just a vehicle. It provides hope, freedom and a step towards self-sufficiency.
Hands works with a diverse range of individuals and businesses to provide donated cars and car services to single moms. In Brooke's case, a partner organization paid her small car placement fee, and awarded the car to Brooke in honor of Mother's Day. "Receiving a reliable car has lightened my financial strain, and is such a burden off my shoulders," Brooke said. "I am so grateful."
In addition to donated cars, Hands of The Carpenter offers car repairs, maintenance and education for up to two years per client.
Hands is on a growth trajectory. In 2019 they provided 23 percent more automotive services than the previous year, and 92 percent of clients said the car services helped them stay employed. Hands is striving to increase the number of clients served by 38 percent in 2020.
Supporting this one-of-a kind organization makes you part of the team making an immediate impact in the lives of single moms and their children. Visit https://www.handsofthecarpenter.org/ to learn more about this life changing organization and how you can be involved.