Vehicles for Change Drives Better Future for Ex-Offender

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A Maryland man, recently released after serving 21 years in prison, is optimistic about his future, according to an article in the Washington Post.

Sean Howard dropped out of ninth grade at the age of 15, where a drug dispute ended with a murder and gun conviction.

“My vision was so limited,” Howard recalled. He described his struggles with identity and imitating society’s image of who he was supposed to be. That was, until he’d had enough.

“When you’re 100 percent dissatisfied with your situation — not 80 percent or 90 — 100 percent, that’s when you’re ready to make a serious change,” Howard said. “I was 110 percent dissatisfied. Somebody told me ‘the wise man picks up where he left off; the fool keeps starting over and over, never learning from his mistakes.’ It finally dawned on me which one I was.”

Sean Howard, left, and Dan Medlar prepare to replace an alternator for Vehicles for Change. | Photo courtesy: Doug Kapustin/The Washington Post

In prison, Howard discovered he had a passion for auto repair while in a prison shop class. His attitude and work ethic landed him an opportunity to enroll in a nonprofit school for ex-offenders called Vehicles for Change, which takes donated vehicles and repairs them for low-income families in need. Meanwhile, students earn income while working toward their Class B automotive technician certification.

“I think education is the gateway,” Howard, 37, told Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy.

Now on the outside, Howard has hit the ground running with the most important tools in his belt — an education, a job and a positive outlook on life.

To read the full original story, by Courtland Milloy, visit

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