Have you ever ridden the public transportation system of our city? On September 17th members of our Empower team organized a LYNX public transportation field trip throughout Orlando. The goal was to get firsthand experience of what it is like to ride the bus just as our youth and clients do every day. We came to the realization that often our youth end up taking buses, our like some of us, have never even ridden one. What better way to learn about the LYNX system than using it? And what better time to do it than during a pandemic? COVID-19 has for sure changed everyone’s life and LYNX is also taking all the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. We all felt that it was our obligation to know how the system is working during these crazy times.
Our day started around 9am on the 443 bus (Winter Park/Pine Hills). All the bus drivers that we met during the day were super friendly and helpful. They all explained to us the routes, called us when our next stop was coming, and made our experience very smooth and enjoyable. After two busses and one transfer we arrived at the LYNX Central Station in Downtown Orlando.
Around noon we headed off to visit our friends at the Mustard Seed for a tour. This amazing organization supports individuals, families, and veterans by providing them with essentials such as clothing, furniture, mattresses, and dishware. We had the pleasure to meet their Executive Director, Kathy Baldwin, and learned about their volunteer opportunities and how they are supporting our community with their services.
By 3pm we were back at our office feeling accomplished and victorious! Although the main reason for this field trip was to learn about our public transportation system, it also allowed our Advocates to bond and to get some quality time together. The Empower team is new and some of our Advocates just recently joined our team at the end of August. It was nice to get to know one another, make jokes, and take selfies during the bus rides and down time.
After an exciting day of riding the bus we now feel more confident standing alongside our youth and clients. We are all proud to be a part of a team that will always look for the best ways and resources to serve and guide our youth. This experience will allow us to provide extra support because now we know the reality of having to take two buses to get to one destination, making transfers, or even waiting for a bus to come in the hot Florida heat. So now we want to ask you: are you ready to go on a bus ride?!