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Mercedes-Benz USA Honors ‘Heroes’ Empowering Young People

Mercedes-Benz USA Honors ‘Heroes’ Empowering Young People

One hero is Larry Witherspoon who uses auto repair to mentor at-risk youth, including those who were formerly incarcerated.

Wanting to highlight the many people who are helping the young people of Atlanta, Mercedes- Benz USA, (BMUSA)  on Sept. 10, released a documentary short for “Greatness Lives Here” (GLH). This initiative is dedicated to celebrating Atlantans who quietly devote their lives to empowering the youth of tomorrow and making a difference in their community.

“Greatness Lives Here” is done in partnership with Merkley + Partners (New York), MBUSA’s lead marketing agency and directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Henry Corra.

The most recent entry in the inspirational series spotlighted on MBUSA’s GLH Facebook page shares the story of Larry Witherspoon, founder of Automotive Training Center (ATC). 

In Fulton County, where more than 3,000 people are currently jailed, Witherspoon oversees a program that offers a path away from prison. “I nearly missed being a statistic myself,” said Witherspoon. “I personally understood what it was like to be facing criminal charges and to know what a big impact that would have made on my life.” As founder of ATC, Witherspoon uses auto repair to mentor at-risk youth, including those who were formerly incarcerated. Because of his efforts, 86 young men and women have graduated from ATC and more than 80% of them are currently employed.

“We’re a brand that’s synonymous with success and so we want to ensure that the next generation has the tools it needs to achieve their goals. Greatness Lives Here celebrates the extraordinary people who give selflessly of their time to clear obstacles in the path of those goals,” said Drew Slaven, vice president of marketing for MBUSA, which has been operating in the U.S. for 60 years. 

In the months ahead, GLH videos will showcase additional local heroes who have had a profound impact on the neighborhoods of Greater Atlanta, where MBUSA is headquartered. These stories include:

  • Maria Armstrong & Tangee Allen, Raising Expectations: two college friends who actively recruit and tutor at-risk youth for future success in higher education
  • Susan Norris, Rescuing Hope: a novelist who is empowering survivors and first responders to rewrite the narrative of human trafficking in America
  • Dean Leeper, Kindezi Schools: a former homeschool teacher who uses family-sized classes and superior teaching techniques to transform the lives of students from underserved communities
  • Amy O'Dell, Jacob's Ladder: a single mom who built a groundbreaking school for her son and other children with neurological challenges
  • Susan Jacobs-Meadows, Canine Cellmates: a dog lover who leverages canine companionship to change the lives of incarcerated men
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