Day #16 - So close . . . so close and yet so far . . .
Today is Thursday, and it is the day both of our classes meet in the afternoon and evening. Our first class, “Unlocking Your Best Self” meets at 4:00 PM, and our second class, “Soft Skills to Pay the Bills”, meets at 6:30 PM. They have been meeting since the beginning of April and will continue to meet weekly until the middle of June. Below are recent class photos, but a few students were absent. We are ALL learning a LOT!
Several of our students drive themselves to class, and several take the bus. Many of our students get rides from their support network. One of our students lives very close to Southeast Community College, and I asked him if he had ever considered riding the bus to class, instead of relying on parents or taking an Uber. He said that he had tried, but there were no routes that were efficient.
Of course, now that I am riding the bus routinely, I decided to check out specifically what he meant. The picture speaks a thousand words.
As you can see, there really is no direct route for him to get to his destination. The blue dots would be where he would walk to board the bus, and the red point is the college. He is frustratingly close, but he would need to hop on one bus route that would take him all the way downtown for a transfer to another bus route, which then would take him back to SCC. The trip back would be just as maddening.
He is about two miles from the classroom, so a walk is not out of the question, but weather is not always a guarantee. He doesn’t have a bike, and he doesn’t drive. Certainly, Uber is an option, but that gets expensive quickly.
I wanted to bring this to everyone’s attention, because even when we live within the boundary of a solid public transportation system, there are still gaps (and will always be). Filling the gaps requires some community teamwork, patience, understanding, and grace. I assure you, Mike Davis, Director of Star Tran, understands the challenge, and he is always looking for ways to better serve the community. I sat with the guy for quite some time, we rode the bus together – he is very passionate about his job.
But the rest of us can also be part of the improvements. I’m not talking about petitioning Star Tran to get more busses, add more routes, etc. But . . .
If you are a boss . . . allow for grace, understanding, and compassion to rule the day while your employee who takes some other means than a privately-owned car to get to work on time – and sometimes comes up short because of variables beyond their control.
If you are a friend . . . be inclusive in the support network of a friend/relative who relies on the bus system or other means for transportation.
If you are a community member . . . remember, the car you are driving is a luxury that you can afford and learn to drive, and many people can’t. It doesn’t make you better, it just makes your life easier.
For our part at Nebraska Transition College, we can help our students with disabilities increase their options by offering a comprehensive curriculum designed to analyze current transportation limitations and ways to overcome those limitations utilizing individual strengths as well as personal and community support systems – on the road to independence.
But only with your help.
Which is the entire reason I am dressing up in this ridiculous green bowtie.
Nebraska Transition College is a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals with a disability find a pathway to independence. But we can’t do it without a large donor network. If this blog brings you meaning in any way, please consider giving a maximum gift of $25 during our “I’ve Got a Ticket to Ride!” May campaign.
Donate by clicking www.nebraskatransitioncollege.org