It wasn’t long ago that Rebuilding Generations was only an idea. In 2013, Kevin Keep was looking for a way to unite younger and older generations to work together side-by-side hand-in-hand to accomplish a task. Classic cars, he thought, would be a perfect way to bridge the age gap, because the older generation remembers them growing up and the young kids think they’re cool. From his own experiences as a child, he remembers how important it was to have strong mentors and role models.
“I wanted to create a program that could do the same thing for this next generation,” Kevin said. “Too many times we get busy in life and we need to stop sometimes and not just tell our younger generation what to do, but instead show them what to do and how to do it right.”
In the following Q&A, Kevin talks about the process of bringing Rebuilding Generations to life, the program’s impact, and the future of Rebuilding Generations.
Q: What was the process like to bring Rebuilding Generations to life?
A: It was a fun process to get started. It was a lot of work trying to get everything set up creating a 501c3, a lot of talking to the older guys to see if they would be patient enough to spend time with these younger kids and share their life stories with them, and for the younger kids to put down the electronics and give the attention and respect to this older generation that deserves it.
Q: How has Rebuilding Generations changed from when it initially began?
A: When it originally begin it was a lot easier. Through the last 3 three years we’ve realized and grown with the program in many ways. It’s definitely more costly than what we thought originally. It takes a lot more time money and dedication to keep a program like this running.
Q: What does Rebuilding Generations offer its youth members?
A: It offers so much to this younger generation. It offers them an opportunity to be a part of a team; It offers them an opportunity to learn wisdom that can only be taught by hands-on and side-by-side learning. It teaches them about goals and meeting timelines; about dedication, hard work, and the rewards that come from that. It teaches them patience. Not only does it teach them mechanical skills it also teaches them to process how to solve problems. It teaches them life skills that just aren’t taught in traditional education.
Q: What does Rebuilding Generations offer its mentors?
A: Believe it or not it offers a lot to its members. For a lot of the guys that are retired it gives them a sense of purpose and opportunity to share the life skills in training that they have achieved over their lifetime. For some of the guys it gives them a place of fellowship, new friends, and a sense of self-worth
Q: Why is it important to bridge the generation gap?
A: This is so important to us in life that we learn how to communicate with one another. Communication is the failure of most marriages, businesses, and any relationship that is out there.Working side-by-side with one another, they also learned that these old guys actually have a lot of wisdom to be poured into them.
Q: What have you learned from Rebuilding Generations?
A: I’ve learned how to spend a lot of money, ha-ha. I’ve learned a lot about this next generation and about the older generation in the commonalities that they actually have with one another.I’ve learned that we can’t judge books by their cover.Each one of us is special in our own way and thank the Lord that we’re not all made the same and that our uniqueness is what makes us special. I’ve also learned that each one of us has something to offer others, and that we might not think that we are affecting people, but you see the fruits later on down the line.
Q: What skills are taught to Rebuilding Generations members that will benefit them in their futures?
A: There are so many skills that are taught in the program that can help them down the road. They’re learning mechanical skills, problem solving skills, how to research and find solutions, how to work together as a team and balance each other. They’re learning how to communicate and articulate themselves. There is a huge part of our program that is biblical based that is teaching them biblical knowledge that will carry with them for the rest of their life.
Q: Why cars? What is the importance of restoring cars together that makes this program a success?
A: The car was used because of quite a few symbolic things. The restoration of it was used because it’s an older car, and that hits the old guys, and we’re using new technology hence the young guys. We are born brand new, in lack of better words, unblemished, and through the life and road we travel we get beaten and torn down sometimes and we need to be restored. Our restoration is only found in Christ Jesus.
The same thing with the car, it comes off the assembly line brand new, shiny, unblemished, but the road it travels it gets beaten, worn out, and torn down and needs restoration. Sometimes you need to put bigger brakes on the car to slow it down, which is the same and life; sometimes you need to slow down and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Sometimes you need a bigger motor to rev up and get going, and it’s the same in life; sometimes you need that encouragement and extra push to get you going in life. Sometimes you need to start from the inside of the car and clean up the interior before you worry about the outside, and a lot of times in life we need to not worry about our outward appearance but about who we are inside at our core.
Q: How have sponsors and donors helped to make this program possible?
A: Sponsors and donors are the lifeblood of our program. Without sponsors to donate all of the parts and knowledge and wisdom they have of their specialty in the industry we wouldn’t have a program. As for donors from a financial standpoint, this is really our weak point. It is always hard to get people to donate money for things. Most of the funding comes from myself, Lynn, Ian, and a few other small donations throughout the year.