It takes guts to try something new and stretch past your comfort zone. We could all take a lesson from Emma, whose bravery and bright personality helped her overcome her anxiety of traveling alone, and opened new doors to independence and freedom.
23 year old Emma used to depend on her mother to drive her where she needed to go. But when her mom started a new job and wasn't available to drive her any longer, she looked into programs that would help Emma learn how to take the bus. She called our Transit Instruction Program, where our travel trainers provide personalized instruction to build knowledge and confidence.
First on the agenda? Helping Emma learn how to get to her part-time job at a co-op in Marysville where she sweeps floors, organizes, and enjoys the dogs that are allowed to come in the store while their owners shop. "It didn't take very long to learn how to ride the bus, but it did take a while to be confident and do it by myself. I don't normally like new things. I was worried I would get off at the wrong stop."
After riding with her travel trainer, Christine, several times, Emma's mom helped her decide that she had everything she needed to be successful to ride on her own. Christine followed her the first time, and since then Emma has been on her own. "It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I like being able to go places. I do have to tell my mom so she doesn't get worried. I like being able to do things by myself."
Emma now uses Route 202 to get to work, to the bank to cash her checks, to the library for books, and to the grocery store where she picks up supplies for baking (she jokes about her sweet tooth). When asked where she might like to go by bus someday, she eagerly suggested a museum. Another adventure to plan with Christine.
"I feel like it's a good program because I feel like it would help a lot of people that wouldn't otherwise be able to do what I've done."
Congratulations, Emma! We are inspired by your story and can't wait to see what adventures you discover next.
Do you know someone with special needs who would benefit from our Transit Instruction Program? Visit www.communitytransit.org/transitinstruction or call (425) 348-2379.