Monday, June 9, 2014

Educational Acess: Overcoming Transporation Challenges

Sometime today you will walk to your car, get in, started it up and head to your destination.  This is an act repeated millions of times each day by millions of people.  However, for many others, transportation is a barrier keeping them from accessing the essential services, like education, they need to conduct their daily lives. 

On Saturday, June 7th, community members and leaders from the Empowerment Congress, a project of the Ocotillo Institute for Social Justice, held a celebration at the Chaparral Fire House to inform citizens of the community about the pilot transportation project in the south valley of  Doña Ana County.  The Empowerment Congress along with the South Central Regional Transit District (SCRTD), responded to requests by the citizens of the district, worked with eight communities including La Union, Chaparral, Del Cerro, Radium Springs, Doña Ana, Butterfield, Organ and Moongate to provide transportation routes in the south valley that will connect the citizens of the south valley with the doctors, retailers, employers and  DoñaAna Community College's Gadsden and Chaparral Learning Centers. 

I had the honor of congratulating the Empowerment Congress, SCRTD, and the community leaders on launching such an important initiative that will make it easier for the citizens of the south valley to access the very important locations they need.  This pilot project is only the beginning.  The future of the transportation initiative is dependent upon a levy that will appear on the November, 2014 ballot which, if it passes, will continue funding for this project. 

I had the opportunity to talk with several people who live in the south valley who attended the celebration.  Each expressed their thanksgiving for Doña Ana Community College's presence and commitment to the south valley.  Additionally, each of them shared with me how the new transportation route will help them to access doctors, grocery stores, and maybe even take a class at DACC now that they have a way to get to our Learning Centers. 

Tonight when I get in my car, start it up, and begin my short journey home, I will remember the people of the south valley who are so thankful for transportation to the vital services they need. 

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