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Supporters Bid Farewell to the Jim Moran Classic

The Youth Automotive Training Center to continue bettering the future of troubled young adults

DOWNLOAD hi-res images from the 2018 Jim Moran Classic

The oldest of four boys to a single mother, Ramon Sanchez (Class of 1997) dropped out of school during 10th grade to do what he had to do to survive. He stole, lied and did things that he is not proud of, just to get by. Then he heard about the Youth Automotive Training Center (YATC) and discovered a turning point for his life.

“At YATC I found people who didn’t care about my background or my education,” he said at the recent Jim Moran Classic, YATC’s primary fundraiser. “They wanted to teach me a skill set and encouraged me to be the best I could be, no matter what I did in my past.”

Now Sanchez is married with two boys of his own. He is master certified in two automotive brands and is currently a shop director at a Kia dealership. He visits the school as a guest speaker each year to share his story and encourage students to make the most of their opportunity. He shares with the students what dealers are looking for and how they can be successful in life.

Sanchez credits his own success to YATC, and more specifically to the program’s founder, automotive legend Jim Moran who told him to ‘just keep chugging.’

Jim Moran founded the nine-month instructional program in 1984 to assist troubled and disadvantaged youth in building a better future through automotive training, life skills, academic remediation and professional guidance. 

Since its inception, 725 graduates have completed the multi-faceted YATC curriculum, 179 of whom have received their high school diplomas and more than 90 percent are gainfully employed, furthering their education or serving in the Armed Forces. Forty-seven graduates hold Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications qualifying them as certified technicians, while 54 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.

The Jim Moran Classic Weekend 
Friends of YATC, including more than 250 golf and tennis players, recently gathered at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando to take part in the 32nd and final Jim Moran Classic, which generated the funds necessary to operate YATC for a full year. Although this annual tradition has come to an end, the program it helped to fund for more than 30 years will continue fulfilling Jim Moran’s vision for many years to come.

“We made the emotional decision that this would be our last Classic,” said Larry McGinnes, president of YATC’s Board of Directors, when addressing the event’s attendees. “To end this tradition in the same year that would have been Mr. Moran’s 100th birthday seemed like the right time. But the party is not over; we are preparing now for the future of YATC so that we can continue to give young men and women an opportunity to gain skills and knowledge that will allow them to build productive, successful lives.”

The fundraising event was once again 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. Throughout the weekend, guests enjoyed golf and tennis events alongside nearly 50 professional golf, baseball, football, hockey, track and field, and tennis celebrities, including Chi Chi Rodriguez, Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, Andre Dawson, Olindo Mare, OJ McMuffie, Jason Taylor, Mike Schmidt and Bob Brudzinski, among others. 

Highlights included Jump Start Golf on Friday, which gave Founding, Super Big Heart, Big Heart and Grand Sponsors the opportunity to hit the links with celebrity guests; Saturday’s golf clinic with World Golf Hall of Famer Chi Chi Rodriguez and golf pro and PGA Tour winner Mark Pfeil; and tennis clinic and tournament 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. 

In addition, Classic attendees opened their wallets for the chance to drive off with an array of incredible prizes. JM Family Enterprises and Southeast Toyota Distributors donated a 2019 Toyota Avalon for the raffle. The winning ticket belonged to Violet Denmark, an administrative specialist from Southeast Toyota Distributors’ parts distribution center in Jacksonville. The Silent Auction featured a 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide, valued at more than $20,000, which went home with Greg Flynn, director of Security for JM Family. 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. A spectacular sports-themed silent auction was hosted by YATC Board member Warren Greene of Fanatics, Inc., with proceeds also going to support the YATC mission.

Sponsors of the 2018 Jim Moran Classic included: Founding Sponsor: The Cross Country Group; Super Big Heart Sponsors: Auto Carrier Express and Jan Moran; Big Heart Sponsors: 22squared, Centurion Auto Transport, Maus Nissan/David Maus/Gib Dannehower, O’Brien Automotive Team, Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson and Daytona Toyota; Grand Sponsors: CDK Global, Inc. and Toyota Motor North America.
About the Youth Automotive Training Center

Established by Jim Moran in 1984, the mission of the Youth Automotive Training Center is to train and educate at-risk youth in basic automotive repair skills, academic remediation, job readiness and life management skills. The goal of this 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. For more information about the Youth Automotive Training Center visit www.yatc.org or call 954-428-0909. YATC is located at 399 S.W. Third Ave., Deerfield Beach, Fla.