Technician Uses Expertise to Boost Teen Self-Esteem
Three years ago, Jim Nuemiller approached his youth pastor at Charity Lutheran Church with an idea to teach teens a skill and improve their self-esteem.
A few years earlier Nuemiller – a technician at Cedric Theel Toyota in Bismarck, North Dakota for the last 31 years – taught his youngest daughter how to replace the engine in a Toyota pickup truck. “It was a great way to bond with her,” Neumiller says. “One day got the idea to do this with other teens.”
Since Built, as Nuemiller named the program, was born, he and 10 apprentices have rebuilt three Toyotas. The latest crop was a trio of girls who began with no idea how to fix the 2001 Celica Nuemiller purchased for the project.
“I asked, ‘Are you willing to learn?’” Nuemiller says. “After 90 minutes all I had to tell them was which tools we needed. We had the motor out in three hours.”
Cedric Theel Toyota sells Nuemiller parts at cost and donates money to the effort. “Jim is a Master Technician,” says Dealer Principal Justin Theel. “He and his kids find vehicles that need some TLC and get after it.”
Nuemiller cherishes the chance to improve teen self-esteem through teaching, but he loves the end the most.
“After each car is finished we put on the ugliest Hawaiian shirts we can find and I take the kids to breakfast,” he says.