SWANSEA, S.C. — Student at Swansea High School are “fixing it forward” to help those in the community who can’t afford to fix their cars.

Many people use their own vehicles to get around, whether that’s to work, the grocery store, or appointments. What can cause one of the biggest headaches is fixing your vehicle when it breaks down. Most of the time, it’s not a cheap fix.

When people can’t afford to fix their vehicles, they have to find other means of transportation or may have to walk.

Swansea High School's Automotive Technology department found there was a need in the community and decided to start Fix It Forward, a free community service program to assist in repairing vehicles for those in need.

Katelynne Zettlemoyer, a senior at the school, says it’s something their whole department is happy to be a part of.

“We came up with the program because there are people in our community that can’t afford to get their vehicles fixed if there’s something messed up with that,” Zettlemoyer explained. “We wanted to take them in like single mothers, elderly, grandparents, someone that can’t afford to do anything to their vehicle.”

Another senior at the school, Trenton Taylor, knows there are people in the community who need a program like this that can give them a break when they need it most.”

“A lot of people don’t have the money to fix their cars that they need. This is a good way to help a lot of people out,” said Taylor.

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Michael Branch, is the Automotive Instructor at the high school, brought the Fix It Forward program from the school he used to work at in Charleston. He say it’s a student-run program.

“They will fix those cars free of charge. We include the parts, labor, everything. No charge to them as a community service,” said Branch.

People can send recommendations to Branch and the school on whose cars they can help fix.

This isn’t just a class assignment. It’s a passion for students like Johnathon Tidwell. Some are going to into this kind of work once they graduate from high school.

“We have a bond with each other and you know just being in here working on stuff. It’s just what we all really like to do,” explained Tidwell.

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Jaden Johnson, another student, says they take everything seriously in the shop and they’re happy to have the opportunity to help.

“You’re going to be in safe hands. We always have an instructor in here at all times,” said Johnson.

Spencer Cooper, a junior enrolled in Automotive Technology II, says his teacher, Mr. Michael Branch, is “pretty cool for doing the Fix it Forward program.” Cooper added, “I think it is a great idea. I like doing for others, especially the ones in our community."

Branch says he’s looking forward to see the difference these kids make in the lives of those who need someone’s help. The students themselves go through the recommendations and decide what they will be able to fix. He believes this generation of students really do care about their community and are wanting to make a positive impact.

Auto Tech students are looking for recommendations from Lexington District Four students and staff, churches, and community members for those who may be in need of this service.

For more information, to request a recommendation form, or to find out how you can help the program, contact Michael Branch at mbranch@lexington4.net or Dana Lackey at dlackey@lexington4.net.