LifeWorks at WKU has received a $100,000 gift from Jeff Fields, Cheetah Clean Auto Wash CEO/Founder, to support autistic young adults enrolled in the LifeWorks Transition Academy. The gift provides scholarship funds to participants of the two-year transition-to-independent living and employment program.
“When I first heard about LifeWorks, I knew I wanted to be involved in this life-changing program for young adults on the autism spectrum,” said Fields. “This is the kind of program that empowers individuals to lead successful lives by giving them the support needed as they transition to independent adulthood.”
Fields is extending his support at a time when LifeWorks is working to build its Bridge to Independence Scholarship Fund.
“Financial limitations can be a major obstacle for those diagnosed with autism who need additional support in their young adult years,” said David Wheeler, executive director of LifeWorks. “We want our program to be accessible to all autistic young adults regardless of income. This generous gift from Jeff Fields will allow us to build our scholarship fund so we can impact more lives.”
To acknowledge the $100,000 gift, LifeWorks will host a recognition celebration on Tuesday, November 15, at 10:00 a.m. at 1328 Adams Street in Bowling Green. Representatives, including Fields and Wheeler, will join participants of the LifeWorks program during the gift presentation. Photo/video and interview opportunities are available.
LifeWorks is a non-profit 501(c)3 living and learning community that empowers young adults with autism and other learning differences to successfully transition to lives of independence, productivity, and employment.
Read Fields’ full speech below:
“It’s with great honor and humility that I am here to announce my donation to Lifeworks at WKU. This donation will help the Bridge to Independence scholarship fund and will help provide access to support young adults that are affected with Autism as they transition to independent living and employment in Bowling Green, KY.
The beginnings of this partnership started back in 2015 as we worked with the Kelly Autism program and their employability group and had a group come out multiple times to help us wash cars, greet customers and organize the office. We had the pleasure of working with Suzanne Vitale in the past and she recently reached out to discuss the Lifeworks opportunity. My daughter and I came in and toured with John Kelly and Molly Swietek. We were blown away with the program and were compelled to help out. So, that’s why we decided to partner with WKU and LifeWorks to help make this contribution and commitment to the community.
As we know partnering with others who have the same commitment makes sense and is the smart thing to do to have a more focused impact. There are many options in our community to make an impact, but the impact and vision here met a need that is meaningful and specific. In deciding on how to better the community, you reflect on your own personal experiences and with family members and friends who have the obstacle of autism and other mental issues. It only seems fitting that if there is a way that we can try to make people have a better chance at a normal life-we should do it. And as we go
through life we come up on people and opportunities to offer our skills, resources, and your heart into something that you think will help others. The real beauty of this is you get to help people that u may never know or benefit from-what true charitable giving is, helping those who may never help you but you make their world a better place.
In my life and in my business here, second chances and a hand up have been something that I have experienced and I am committed to continuing. As some of you know, we have multiple second chances and hand up employees and teammates in our Cheetah Clean business. This gift and partnership with Life Works is another way of extending that hand up to others who may need that in order to make their life better.
So in conclusion those of us who have some success in life have an opportunity to be good stewards and help share that with others. Many of you have helped make our business successful and we thank you for that. We are humbled to be a partner with such an amazing program and we hope that our small contribution will somehow make a difference to others. Thanks again and enjoy your holiday. May your gifts of the holiday season make your friends and family better- and hopefully this gift will make the next season of some lives better.”