Retired county van gets new life serving youth mentoring program

Getting around will soon be easier for Glover Empower Mentoring. The Kent-based nonprofit, which mentors young men ages 13-21, is one of more than 30 organizations throughout King County to receive a surplus van from the Metro Transit vanpool.

Glover Empower Mentoring (G.E.M.) will receive a surplus van

Glover Empower Mentoring (G.E.M.) will receive a surplus van

Getting around will soon be easier for Glover Empower Mentoring.

The Kent-based nonprofit, which mentors young men ages 13-21, is one of more than 30 organizations throughout King County to receive a surplus van from the Metro Transit vanpool.

Kendrick Glover, G.E.M.’s co-founder and president, said he learned about the surplus van program in an email and applied through King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove’s office.

The surplussed vans have been in the vanpool fleet for at least six years and have reached the end of their service life. Vehicles that are not donated are sold by the county.

Since 1996, more than 500 retired vans have been transferred to local nonprofit organizations to provide transportation for the disabled, low-income, young adults and senior citizens.

Glover said the vehicle ⏤ likely an eight-passenger Chevrolet van ⏤ will be delivered to G.E.M. later this month.

“It will be a huge lift for our program, organization, as far as transportation,” Glover said. “A lot of our mentees don’t have transportation to and from our group. This will allow us to reach more students and youth in the community.”

G.E.M. meets Wednesday evenings at the Kent Parks Community Center on the East Hill.

The van will be especially useful for the summer program, Glover said. In addition to weekly meetings, the group will take weekly educational or recreational outings, such as trips to museums, baseball and soccer games and hikes.

Members of G.E.M. will also take part in community service projects, like cleaning up a park, Glover said.

“Our mentees give back to the community in a way they wouldn’t otherwise,” Glover said.

G.E.M. will host its second annual flapjack fundraiser breakfast from 8-10 a.m. Saturday, April 23, at the Kent Applebee’s, 25442 104th Ave. SE. The cost is $10 and tickets can be purchased at the door.

Money raised will help fund the summer program, as well as cover gas, maintenance and insurance for the van.

For more information about G.E.M., email gempowermentoring@gmail.com.


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