NCC “Charitable Chariots” Help Spencer Family

NCC’s Charitable Chariots program, a SkillsUSA service learning project, donated a 2005 Ford Explorer with 144,000 miles to a family that had been identified by the Family Crisis Centers of NW Iowa on Tuesday, January 12. The recipient of this car was Tiffany Andreasen and her two boys, Dominic (14) and Isaac (12), from Spencer, Iowa.

Andreasen said, “I am very grateful for this car. I work at a grocery store 11 blocks away from my home and many times I work split shifts. That means I was walking 44 blocks to get to and from work in just one day. It is doable, but in the winter and bad weather it makes getting to work hard. Plus, carrying any groceries all that way is hard. It was a lot of walking and was exhausting.” Andreasen continued, “I did have a car, but it broke down on the side of the road. The mechanic told me it was going to cost more than what the car was worth to fix it, so I have been without a car for a few months.”

Andreasen concluded with saying, “I want to express my gratitude for the students’ hard work. I will take extremely good care of it. I hope that everyone who worked on this project is blessed for giving me this opportunity.”

Chuck Illg, Department of Human Services, said, “I’ve been working with this family and I knew transportation was a serious problem for them. About four years ago I had another family that was blessed with a car from this program so I started making phone calls to see if the College was still doing it. It is an absolutely amazing program. We take for granted getting up in the morning and having a reliable car to get to work, drive our kids to appointments and school activities, and just running necessary errands. Imagine not having that option! It is very hard for a family to become independent without reliable transportation.” Illg continued, “I also think it is wonderful for the students because they get to meet the recipient of the car. They can put real faces to the people they have helped. I hope they always remember what it feels like to pay it forward.”

Miguel Mondragon, Automotive & Light Duty Diesel student from Newell, Iowa, said, “The concept is really cool and I enjoyed working on the car. It brought it home to see the family actually get the car. I can tell the family will cherish it and take good care of it. After seeing her reaction and the look in all of their eyes I think the work was really worth it.”

The Charitable Chariots Program is a service learning component of NCC’s Automotive & Light Duty Diesel program. Students repair and service locally donated automobiles for the purpose of donating back to area families in need. To date, 23 vehicles have been donated to families in Northwest Iowa.

Chuck Ball, NCC Automotive Instructor, explained the reason Charitable Chariots was started.  “The instructors wanted to stress to students that they not only participate in community service, but community service in their given professions. When our students graduate we want them to be well-rounded professionals and that includes giving back to their communities.” Ball continued, “So we added a service learning component to the curriculum. We are trying to teach that life is not all about a paycheck. Giving back to the community you live in is a good life lesson.”

A sponsor of this program and a special thank you to the Iowa Auto Recyclers organization for financial help with this project.

If you are interested in donating to the Charitable Chariots program please contact Chuck Ball at Northwest Iowa Community College. You can call him at (712) 324-5061 or email him at

For information on any of NCC’s 50+ programs or to receive your free copy of the NCC Viewbook, contact the Admissions Office at:, (712) 324-5061, 1-800-352-4907, or visit our website at At NCC – Your Success is Our Story.