Day #22: Reality
Day #22: Reality
If I had to rely solely on public transportation, I would have to quit my job and find something else more suited to public transportation. The job of an executive director of a start-up nonprofit involves being a jack-of-all-trades, master of all (even when sometimes we have to fake it ‘til we make it). It means meetings in the community, time-consuming financial tasks, strategic planning, curriculum development, visioning . . . all preferably outside the bubble. This means conferencing, meeting, face-to-face, seminars . . . something with which Zoom just cannot compete. I would have to walk away from this job if I had to rely solely on public transportation.
I’m not sure I have eaten more than two healthy meals a week. I’ve exercised once. I haven’t even tried to go get groceries (although I have seen many people riding the bus with whatever groceries they can carry). I am limited to two appointments in any one day unless they are close to one another. Oftentimes, meetings get cut short, because if I don’t make the next bus, I will have to wait 30-60 minutes for the next one. This triggers a domino effect from which there is no recovery. Appointments get canceled, meetings get re-scheduled (or canceled), and the stress level explodes.
The potential for daily crisis has grown exponentially. All I do is watch the clock – forever paranoid that I will miss my bus. The apps are incredibly accurate, but for my personality, not good enough. I hate being late. So, I am always waiting at least 15 minutes longer than I have to.
My family. Right now, I’m the only one riding the bus. What if we all had to ride the bus?
Reality is something we will need to deal with in our curriculum. Public transportation, for what it is here in Lincoln, serves the community very well. It operates exactly as it was designed to operate. There could be some tweaks (more shelters, better placement of some stops, and a route to my neighborhood, so I didn’t have to travel 1.7 miles to the nearest bus stop), but it allows the people of Lincoln to get where they need to go.
But when you drill down to each individual, there are unique circumstances that cause reality to slap oneself upside the head. That is where NTC will work with students in a tailored fashion to overcome adversity – whether it means learning how to ride a bike, finding adequately warm/dry clothes to combat the weather, working with a boss to allow for a flexible work schedule, or determining the best location to look for employment based upon where they live, the bus routes, and potential employers.
But, none of this will happen without support from the community. Raising a child with a disability costs 6-8 times that of a child without a disability. Typical costs for the classes we are designing are over $1,000 per student, per class. We are asking our students and their parents to pay some of the tuition, but we would like to make it as affordable as we can. Your donation will go to help keep that tuition low.
You will get a return on your investment, btw. For every $1 invested in programming like this, $7 is returned to the public via a complete reversal of the social safety net. It’s amazing what can happen when our students find a pathway to employment and independence.
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