Two blocks behind Chicago Midway International Airport on116 S. LaVergne St. is Curb Auto, a body shop that not only specializes in the renovation of classic hot rods, but also provides Chicago’s troubled youth and ex-gang members with a place to learn life and job skills.
In 2007, Alex Levesque turned the empty warehouse on Chicago’s South West Side into an auto body shop because he felt the city was not doing enough for the children and young adults of Chicago’s crime stricken neighborhoods. He said he wanted to create a proactive initiative that would keep young adults out of underground markets and away from gang activity.
“Keeping the crime rate down and our children out of the streets is a difficult task,” Lavesque said. “These kids have acquired entrepreneurial skills already from selling drugs and leading gangs. If we take them out of that environment and give them the skills they need to succeed in life, they will be ahead of the game.”
The shop is now home to over 100 mechanics and mentors. The shop also collaborates with Chicago colleges to keep the mechanics in school and help some earn their GEDs.