Wheels of Change Testimonials


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Wheels of Change expansion has been incredibly successful. The workers in the second van have already completed clean-up activities in Southeast San Diego, Barrio Logan, Memorial Oak Park, Mountain View, Shell Town, Downtown San Diego, East Village, Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza, City Heights, Cortez Hill, North Park, and Hillcrest!

The program is helping 20 people a day, 5 days a week, every week. Every day that the vans go out and folks are working, positive change is happening in our community.  The impact of the program is far-reaching. From emotional and mental growth, confidence boosting, and friendship building to financial, beautification of our city streets, and being in a position to support other homeless, the Wheels of Change homeless employment program is making significant change in San Diego.

On behalf of Kevin and Carolyn Barber, program founders and the Lucky Duck Foundation, thank you for your continued support of this very important program. We honored to share homeleless employment stories from first-time program participants.

Stories from first-time participants in Wheels of Change

“My first-time experience with Wheels of Change I did not know what to expect. When there was three tickets left, I hoped to be picked and thank God I was. It gave me a feeling of being useful to society and at the same time freedom. With money in your pocket you feel or I feel like I am somebody. The leader is awesome. He knows just how to run his crew, and his name is KB. He constantly strives to reach the ones still on the concrete and demonstrated repeatedly promoting the cause. I hope I am blessed with my number being pulled again. Thank you!” – Tobin, first-time participant


“This was my first time out on the Alpha Project Wheels of Change crew. This is a great program and it will help keep San Diego cleaner as well as the waterfront and ocean. The more we can do to keep our cities clean, the better. It was a pleasure to help Alpha Project because they have done so much to help me. Thanks to K.B. I’m off the streets and looking for a full-time job. The money from today will go towards my phone bill which I need to get to work.” – John, first-time participant



“First of all, I would like to thank Alpha Project for allowing me this opportunity to make a little cash and doing something positive. I will take my money and bless others that are in need.” – Arthur


“Today was my first day going out with Wheels of Change. The experience was different than what I thought. The experience is something that I would recommend for a person to feel better about themselves. With my $48, I am going to buy some pillows and some food to cook in the microwave. K.B. is a joy to work with and he makes your work experience fun. He is always patting someone on the back telling them ‘good job.'” – Kevin, first-time participant



“I appreciate the opportunity I had to work in the community today with Alpha Project’s Wheels of Change. In the past I had noticed the workers with the orange vests and was somewhat curious about the work. So today I got an inside view. The pay is a tremendous bonus to my situation right now. I needed a bus pass and really considered myself out of possibilities as to how I would acquire one before a very important doctor’s appointment I need to get to next week. I’m so thankful for the opportunity, the exercise, the compassion. The Alpha Project is astounding on so many levels and I am happy to be a part of the good work!” – Cherie, first-time participant


“My first time experience working with the Alpha Project was wonderful. KB was the driver and he made sure we all had the things we needed to be able to clean up the neighborhood. I really enjoyed this experience. I mean just taking the time out of the day to do something positive with myself and for others. Not just picking up trash for the community but the fact that you can see and feel the love and the people smiling and saying thank you. Every piece of paper or trash I picked up, whether a lot or a small amount, I count that as my blessing because I am doing this for me. I’m doing this to give back. I am going to save the money I earned today.”- Sherrie, first-time participant


“I had a great day so far cleaning up trash and feeding the homeless. It made me feel really good about myself and has boosted my confidence. I believe if I continue to make progress, the sky is the limit. With my money I want to get a pair of shoes and a few bus passes to get to my appointments.” – Chris, first-time participant



Recently, Carolyn and Kevin Barber, spent some time with Wheels of Change participants. Carolyn shared this with us:

‘Kevin and I had a great morning with some of the workers down at Wheels of Change. Several shared their stories. We met one quiet, gentleman coming out with WOC for the first time today. He told us he is going to be a new manager at a Hilton. He found 2 nice suits that had been donated, but needed to purchase a pair of dress shoes in order to start his job. He’s working today to make $52 so he can buy his shoes. He then plans “to work, move out of the shelter, and move forward with my life!”

Lauren is a woman who told us that after the first time she worked at Wheels of Change, she swore to herself that she would “never do it again.” She said she’s “overweight”, that picking up trash was “hard work”, and that she even developed blisters on her feet last time.  Instead of quitting, she shared that she changed her attitude, bought some walking shoes, and now comes out every opportunity she can. She’s worked 9 times so far and lost 15 pounds! She’d work more if they’d let her, but due to the fact that so many shelter residents want to work, they are only permitted to work once a week so everyone has a chance.
We met another woman who went to visit her best friend in Las Vegas. She told us she “made a bad choice”, relapsed on drugs, lost her son’s car somewhere, ended up returning to San Diego on a Greyhound bus, and now is trying to get her life back together again.  She says she’s lost so much because of drugs – a home, family, love. However, she’s proud of herself for coming to work at Wheels of Change. “It’s preparing me for real work again. You have to get out of bed, be on time (“7:30am, not 7:31am!”), be responsible. You have to show up and do the work. Besides, it makes me feel good, cleaning up the community and knowing that I got out of bed today and am making a difference. Community members are great too and are always encouraging us.” And, as if on cue, a man from a local brewery popped his head out of a large window as we were cleaning.  He asked about the program and what folks were doing. He nodded approval, kindly thanked everyone for their work, and said they were welcome to come grab a beer anytime.
Finally, we met another man working on the crew, who will start a job he has with a company, CEO, in a few weeks. The money he’s making with Wheels of Change is helping him get by in the interim.
Proud of these folks who are helping themselves. Lauren said it best, “Most of us want a hand up, not a hand out. It’s a good feeling to earn money yourself.”


Hear more homeless employment stories

Wheels of Change was initially launched locally by teenager, Kevin Barber, and his mom, Carolyn Barber, MD, in partnership with Alpha Project, in early 2018.  Alpha Project launched the expansion of Wheels of Change by increasing from one to two vans and expanding the crew from 10 to 20 individuals in June 2019.  Follow us on Instagram to hear more stories from Wheels of Change participants.

The mission of the Lucky Duck Foundation is to immediately alleviate the suffering of people experiencing homelessness. We raise money for best-in-class programs that support people facing homelessness such as bridge shelters, employment, care kits, and more. Don’t miss a news story on the homelessness issues that matter to you. Sign up for our newsletter. When you do, we’ll donate 4 pairs of socks which are the most requested item at shelters, to people in need. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Makayla Scott

Peer Mentor, Promises2Kids
As an African American first-generation college graduate, I recently earned my Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning Management and Design. Despite facing the challenges of homelessness and balancing motherhood, I have persevered and am committed to using my experiences to advocate for better urban planning and support for vulnerable communities.”