On an early July morning, a school bus festooned with bright green painted dinosaurs rumbles through the quiet streets of Southwest Detroit. Youth conductor Gene Evans is on his cell phone, updating the route on-the-fly for driver Darron Benton, who relies on his encyclopaedic knowledge of Detroit geography to steer the bus though neighborhoods dotted with vacant lots and burned-out structures. Periodically, the bus makes a stop at designated “safe places” — coffee shops, non-profit agencies, police stations — where children await transportation to summer programs.
This is the Youth Transit Alliance, a pilot program funded by the Skillman Foundation to help kids in Southwest Detroit get safely to and from extracurricular development programs. The program operates as a public-private partnership between the private Detroit Bus Company and area youth development nonprofits, including Congress for Communities, Chadsey-Condon Community Organization, and the Skillman-funded Partnerships for Youth Initiative, which fosters collaboration among a network of over 90 youth service organizations in six neighborhoods across the city. Southwest Solutions serves as fiduciary for a $100,000 Skillman grant to the the Detroit Bus Company to pilot the program for six months.
Read the full story on Model D:
Youth Transit Alliance: Pilot program gets kids where they need to go
Nina Ignaczak | Tuesday, August 20, 2013