It's an extremely important decision to make, and it should never be treated flippantly or casually, but I think - for most people - donating a car to charity is an excellent choice in almost every situation. For a young person who's never had to make a big financial decision, it's perfect because it teaches them about taxes, tax deductions, Blue Book values, and it teaches them the importance and value of helping one's fellow man out in a tough spot. In fact, that's something we could all probably stand to learn. We can't rely on other people to pick up the slack and donate to charity all the time, so donating a car to charity - donating your own car on your own time - is one way to seize control of the situation and start committing good deeds. You can't expect other people to do everything; that's why were in this mess in the first place!
Donating a car to charity can even be seen as a totally selfish act, if you aren't interested in helping people out. And that's totally fine. As long as you're still donating a car and helping someone, it doesn't matter that your motivation isn't selfless. The end result is what matters. As long as there's a happy family with a new chance at a good life, things have worked out.