Indoctrina–I mean, educating, the next generation

Intercity Transit, which serves Olympia, Lacey, and Yelm, is doing its part to make a difference in the future by educating young people about transit. From yesterday’s Olympian:

LACEY — A cluster of 25 black balloons that Haviela Patino, 16, held over her head represented a car trip from the Business Education Cooperative Work class at North Thurston High School to the Regal Cinemas 16 on Martin Way.

Erin Cawley-Morse, youth education and outreach coordinator for Intercity Transit, asked Patino and her class to think about what part of the trip the balloons might represent.
“Oh! It’s pollution!” Patino exclaimed.

The balloon demonstration was one part of a new Intercity Transit presentation for high school students about the merits of taking the bus.

The South Sound’s transit authority started a new student outreach program this year, after receiving a $52,000 federal grant called Smart Moves. The program will fund assemblies and classroom visits and paid for the development of classroom materials about public transportation.

I love this idea! Lots young people ride the bus out of necessity but aren’t taught to think of it as a long-term transportation solution. (Many years ago, I happened to be one of those young people.) IT’s program educates them about the benefits of choosing transit even after driving becomes an option. (Did I mention a monthly youth bus pass costs only $12.50?)

The program offers downloadable classroom materials for teachers of all grade levels, so kids can start learning about the impact of their choices as early as elementary school. After all,

“The generation that is coming up through the schools now are not only the drivers and commuters of the future, but making choices and developing values now that they will take with them throughout their lives,” she said.

Shoot–now I’ve got that Whitney Houston song stuck in my head.