Hands of The Carpenter serves single women in need by providing automobile placement, repair, and maintenance to assist in their efforts to become and remain economically self-sufficient.
Hands of The Carpenter (Hands) was established as a Colorado nonprofit corporation in April 2003, received its 501(c)(3) designation in December of that year, and has been in operation ever since. The organization grew out of a church-based single parent ministry led by Hands' CEO, Dan Georgopulos, and his wife Brenda. After hearing stories of abuse, homelessness, death of a spouse - the types of events that cause women to be on their own - Dan, Brenda, and key supporters decided to develop Hands to make services available across Jefferson County. Initially, they provided home and car repair services. Before long though, Hands determined to focus exclusively on auto services realizing many women in need drove older cars needing repairs to be reliable and safe for them and their children. Hands launched the car repair program in order to provide quality, timely services by certified mechanics for women in need to achieve self-sufficiency.
Strategic steps have been implemented to ensure that Hands stays on course towards achieving its mission. In 2010, Hands raised capital and purchased an operating automobile repair shop in central Lakewood and renamed it Hands Automotive, Inc. The repair facility has been a full service, for-profit social enterprise that serves the general public, subsidizes women's repairs jobs, and increases Hands capacity to efficiently conduct program activities. In 2014, Hands began initiating partnerships with other repair shops, especially those in the NAPA AutoCare Elite network, willing to do a specified number of repairs each month. By operating its own shop and through the affiliates, Hands cost effectively addresses the burden of unreliable vehicles for women who face multiple obstacles. In the summer of 2016 Hands acquired a well-known local vehicle donation/placement program to grow the number of reliable vehicles provided to single mothers and widows each year. That action resulted in the donation of 271 vehicles in 2016 (in 2015 Hands received 69 cars), and 381 in 2017. The most recent organizational development occurred last summer. Hands moved from renting two spaces in Lakewood for the auto repair shop and offices to purchasing one property in Golden. The relocation eliminated rental expenses, increases Hands public exposure, and enables the organization to operate more efficiently out of the one facility.
Through year end 2017, Hands served 208 different women providing them with 339 services (an average of 1.6 services per women). 2017 services included 27 Vehicle Placements (an increase of five over 2016), 144 Vehicle Repairs, and 168 Car Maintenance Services with car care education woven into each service component to empower the women.
We are honored to serve hundreds of women each year. Raquel was one of those incredible individuals who was referred to us this year. She had been living in Grand Lake with her husband and 13 year old son. The husband was very abusive, injuring her to the extent that she had to go to the hospital. Raquel was able to get a protection order after he was charged with 2nd and 3rd degree assault. She was able to flee from the relationship and moved to Denver to start over, which was challenging for many reasons especially health issues including lupus. She found a place to live on her own, secured a stable job, and opened up her first bank account. She had no transportation but was able to save money for a car. That's where Hands came into the picture. Raquel was guided through the Vehicle Placement process and received a 2002 Honda Civic. This car has given her freedom to move forward from the abusive past. She is so grateful to be able to get to work, the grocery store, doctors' visits, and is proud to own her vehicle. We are empowering women who were on the edge of hopelessness to live fuller lives as we work with them to care for their cars.