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Jim Moran Classic Celebrates 31 Years of Helping Troubled Youth

The Annual Two-day Event Raises Funds to Support Youth Automotive Training Center

Download photos from the 2015 Jim Moran Classic.

For Jameson Dely, 20, everyday life was the sound of gun shots at night and drug dealers on the corner.


Despite his environment, Dely threw himself into playing football with hopes to one day help his hardworking single mother who supported him and his siblings. Poor choices and bad influences resulted in his expulsion from high school. Without football, a diploma or a steady job, he struggled to find his way. At 18, Dely had a son, Jamier, whose birth motivated him to make positive changes and seek out the Youth Automotive Training Center (YATC) in Deerfield Beach, Fla., where his uncle graduated in 2013.


Dely, now a student at YATC, bravely shared his touching story with more than 800 sponsors and their guests at the 2015 Jim Moran Classic, an annual two-day golf and tennis tournament that raises funds to cover the yearly operating expenses of the automotive school.


“When my girlfriend got pregnant, I knew I needed to do more but I didn’t know what that was,” Dely said. “Then I was reminded at a family cookout that my uncle Lucius attended YATC and how it changed his life. Today, he owns a mechanic shop in Georgia and is doing well. I know this program will also make me a better person and a better father. I am thankful to Mrs. Moran for continuing her husband’s dream. I am also thankful to the Board, Terry Routley and the rest of the staff for giving me a second chance at a brighter future.” 


Dely has made discipline his top priority. He loves the hands-on training and is determined to earn his GED while at YATC. He also vowed to work hard in hopes of gaining a scholarship from the program to continue his automotive studies in college.


Another moving speech was delivered by 2005 YATC graduate David Ruiz. Before starting the training program, he was a high school dropout who had been in and out of jail and headed down a dark path. Ruiz realized he needed skills and training, and after working in a tire shop, he became interested in automotive repair. At 18, he was referred to YATC by the City of Deerfield Beach, and after applying twice, he was accepted to become a part of Class 26.


“I left high school and was headed in the wrong direction when I heard about YATC,” said Ruiz. “Once I got into the program, I thought I was just going to learn about cars. But the staff taught me even more. They explained how important it was to change my ways, and even though I continued to make bad decisions, YATC stayed with me and never let me down. They gave me the love and support I needed.”


Through an employment lead from YATC, Ruiz was able to secure a position at Enterprise Holdings as a maintenance technician. He also started his own small business, GoPro Detailing, and has big aspirations for his company’s future. He lives in Deerfield Beach, where he is raising his 7-year-old son, Jayven.


Ruiz also expressed how thankful he was to everyone at YATC for helping him build his career and potential, “It’s because of YATC that I have a better outlook on life and a plan to continue to be a success.”


“My husband believed in second chances, and he started YATC to give disadvantaged youth an opportunity to build brighter futures for themselves and their families,” said Jan Moran. “This school meant a lot to Jim. He would be very proud of Jameson and David, who are both working hard to be successful. With a dedicated and supportive staff, YATC continues to provide young men and women with a caring and positive place where they can reach their potential.” 


Of the 645 students who have completed the program, 152 have received their GEDs. More than 90 percent of graduates are gainfully employed, furthering their education or serving in the armed forces. Thirty-one graduates hold Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications qualifying them as Certified Technicians, while 53 graduates on scholarship through YATC have earned an associate’s degree and six have obtained a bachelor’s degree. Alumni of the model program, along with their families, continue to receive assistance from YATC after graduation to keep them on the right track for success.


“Selecting new students is a challenge we look forward to each year because this program is about giving young people an education and showing that others believe in them,” said Terry Routley, executive director of YATC. “Each student has different needs and through our resources we’ve been able to create a program that provides individualized support and attention that helps these students become productive, self-sufficient adults.”


The annual event took place at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando and was emceed by Emmy Award and Edward R. Murrow Award winner Doug Dunbar, television news anchor and reporter for KTVT-TV (CBS 11) in Dallas/Fort Worth. During the Saturday evening banquet, golf legend and longtime YATC friend Chi Chi Rodriguez received the Jim Moran Award for nearly 30 years of dedication to the school and the Jim Moran Classic.


Sponsors of the 2015 Jim Moran Classic included Founding Sponsor: The Cross Country Group; Super Big Heart Sponsors: Auto Carrier Express and Jan Moran; Big Heart Sponsors: 22squared; AT&T; Centurion Auto Logistics, Inc.; EMC Corporation; O’Brien Automotive Team; Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson and Daytona Toyota; TBC Corporation (Tire Kingdom); and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.; and Grand Sponsor: CDK Global, Inc.


Jump Start Golf, held on Friday for the Founding, Super Big Heart, Big Heart and Grand Sponsors, gave more than 100 golfers the opportunity to participate in a round with celebrity guests. During Saturday’s golf and tennis tournaments, more than 300 golfers and 20 tennis players participated in the programs. World Golf Hall of Famer Chi Chi Rodriguez and golf pro and PGA Tour winner Mark Pfeil conducted the golf clinic, while the tennis clinic and tournament were led by Hall of Famers Wendy Turnbull and Virginia Wade and tennis pros John Lloyd and Duby Petrovich. Young guests also participated in a special themed Kids & Teens Program that included day and evening activities.


Throughout the weekend, guests participated in golf and tennis events alongside 50 professional golf, baseball, football, track and field, media and tennis celebrities including: Jason Taylor, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Andre Dawson, Artis Gilmore and Steve Carlton. As he has done throughout the years, NFL alumnus and head golf coach at Jackson State University Eddie Payton went to YATC after the Jim Moran Classic joined by Bernadine Roundfield, wife of the late former NBA player and frequent YATC visitor Danny Roundfield, to tour the school and speak with students.


JM Family Enterprises and Southeast Toyota Distributors donated a 2016 Toyota Tacoma for the raffle prize and the company’s Chief Administrative Officer Ken Yerves pulled the winning ticket from nearly 6,600 distributed for Phillip Cheasez, an associate at Auto Carrier Express in Jacksonville, Fla. The Silent Auction featured a painting created and donated by James Gibson, an original Florida Highwaymen artist, as well as a 2016 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special motorcycle donated by Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson. Proceeds from the motorcycle auction will go to the Bruce Rossmeyer Memorial Kick Start Scholarship Fund at YATC to assist graduates who want to pursue their education at a vocational or technical school.


In addition to volunteering their time, celebrity supporters — such as Steve Carlton and NFL great Olindo Mare — also donated autographed memorabilia for the Silent Auction. Fanatics Authentic provided a large variety of sports collectibles for the auction.


About the Youth Automotive Training Center

Established by automotive legend and JM Family Enterprises founder Jim Moran in 1984, the mission of the Youth Automotive Training Center is to train and educate at-risk youth in basic automotive repair, academic remediation, job readiness and life management skills. The goal of the program is to prepare young adults who are at a disadvantage in their lives to become self-sufficient, productive, law-abiding citizens. Students are referred to YATC in a variety of ways, including through the Departments of Juvenile Justice and Children and Families, as well as YATC graduates, local clergy and word of mouth. Each year, 30 students are selected from more than 140 applicants. Since opening its doors, YATC has evolved from a one-room training center in Hollywood, Fla., to a 16,000 square-foot facility in Deerfield Beach featuring technical and academic classrooms, a computer learning center/library, state-of-the-art automotive shop, conference room and fitness area. For more information about the Youth Automotive Training Center, call 954-428-0909 or visitwww.yatc.org. YATC is located at 399 SW Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Deerfield Beach.