A Summer of Opportunities

Summertime for students is usually reserved for hanging out with friends, staying cool, and spending time with family. But for a group of students from the Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD), summer means gaining valuable job skills and making a difference in the community.

With over 200 students who applied for a chance to participate in the Elk Grove Civic Summer program, only 33 EGUSD sophomores and juniors were admitted to participate.

The 33 elected students from various schools such as Sheldon High, Pleasant Grove, Cosumnes Oaks, Florin High, Franklin High and Laguna Creek High participated in the 2021 Elk Grove Civic Summer Program.

The Civic Summer Program aims to provide students with valuable work experience and networking opportunities for future careers. Students may also secure letters of recommendation and earn summer school credits that will help them in their future college and career plans.

The students who are participating engage in a two-week seminar about local government. The seminars consisted of guest speakers from various careers such as the Elk Grove Police Department, Cosumnes Community District Fire Department, Elk Grove City Council, Elk Grove Assemblyman, Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, and the Elk Grove Mayor, Bobbie Singh-Allen

After two weeks of seminars, the students are then placed with supervisors to act as interns in these different work environments.

Here at Paratransit, Inc. we are lucky enough to be involved in this year’s program and were placed with one of the students, Kevin Nguyen, an upcoming senior from Sheldon High School.

While here at Paratransit, Inc., Kevin shadowed me in my position and I worked with him on how to perform certain tasks in our office including clerical duties and introduced him to our Travel Training Program. Travel Training teaches individuals how to use public transportation options and resources independently. 

Training with Wyatt

Kevin’s first day was an introduction to our facility and a meet and greet with Paratransit, Inc.’s dedicated staff. We settled into my office where Kevin had a workstation set up for him. We then began the introduction of Paratransit, Inc.’s Transportation Literacy  Program. During the introduction I presented a PowerPoint presentation regarding our program’s procedures. Our Transportation Literacy Program  is geared towards youth and young adults ages 16-24, working with them on how to use public transportation. The main barrier for youth and young adults in order to obtain gainful employment, internships and education opportunities is transportation. They rely heavily on family, friends and/or they spend inordinate sums of money utilizing private transportation services. Paratransit, Inc.’s Transportation Literacy Program changes travel behaviors and brings learning of public transportation and electric bikes to the forefront as a reliable resource for independent travel.

On our travels together Kevin gained experience on the benefits and use of public transportation. We took a trip to Downtown Sacramento using the light rail train arriving at Leland Stanford Mansion. This historic house was built between 1856 and 1857, which makes it about 165 years old! After visiting the Mansion, we decided to head over to the State Capitol.

On our way to the Capitol we saw the Deodar Cedar. Planted around the year 1860, and standing at around 90 feet tall, the Deodar Cedar has to be one of the biggest trees in the Capitol State Park.

After visiting the Capitol Garden, we decided to take a peek inside the California State Capitol and see all of its awesome architecture and intriguing history about California. Being able to visit the State Capitol and Leland Stanford Mansion is a great example of where you can go, using Public Transit.

Before We Ride

Kevin was able to witness the safety procedures Paratransit Inc. drivers perform prior to taking vehicles out on the road, also known as “Pre-Trips”. These pre-trip inspections are conducted to establish safety for the drivers and the passengers we serve. 

Nancy, a driver here at Paratransit Inc., was willing to show us how pre-trips are performed.

During a pre-trip for a bus, everything including the interior and exterior of the vehicle must be inspected. The engine, wheels, lights, and windshield are all checked to make sure that they are functioning properly. The interior of the bus such as the seats and certain protective belts have to be inspected to ensure that there are enough in case they are needed. The wheelchair lifts also had to be operated and inspected to guarantee that there were no difficulties in operating it and that it was running smoothly.

Conducting the pre-trip was a lengthy process and it showed the amount of detail and care that’s put into a vehicle before it can be trusted on the road.

Paratransit Inc.’s Transportation Literacy Program has three training options: standard One-on-One training in the field, Hybrid which is half online and half in the field, and our Virtual Training option is conducted through online platforms. The trainee establishes which training program option best suits their needs. Kevin participated in a Virtual online training session over Zoom. Through this experience, Kevin witnessed a real-time training session with a trainee. I walked Kevin through how to update certain informative documents, perform virtual and physical route and scouts, and prepare training materials for a trainee.

Asking Kevin about his experience working as an intern so far, he states, “With the assignments I have worked on so far at Paratransit Inc. and my time spent in the office, I have gained specific skills in the office and professional environment that will certainly benefit me in my future career path. These skills that I have gained are essential in any career path that I choose in the future.”

For everyone reading this, remember that “My best advice for you is to take a chance” and that the “students that participate with us routinely say that [the program] was the highlight of their summer” as stated by Carlos Garcia, the Program Coordinator with the Elk Grove Civic Summer Program. 

Seize opportunities, take chances and get involved to invest in your future. This program is a great gateway for beneficial opportunities and chances down the road. 

With the three weeks of interning coming soon to a close, I want to thank the Elk Grove Civic Summer Program and Kevin for working with us here at Paratransit! 

As always, thanks for reading.

Until next time readers! 

Feels like Summer

Building in background with yellow roses in foreground, flanked by trees, under a blue summersky.

Summers in Sacramento are notorious for their record high temperatures. Beating the heat and staying safe is my top priority this summer. A river day with family, a relaxing day at the pool, enjoying a great BBQ with friends or visiting local attractions is my idea of a perfect summer.

Today, I decided to visit the Downtown Sacramento area and see what I can do to beat the heat and view how our new no-tier system is getting Sacramento back to normal.

Early in the morning, while it was still relatively cool, I stopped by the Capitol Mall Downtown Farmers Market. I was able to comfortably walk around and see all the fresh in-season produce, food trucks, and other local merchant booths.

Farmers market in daytime with red, white, and green tents.

Being outside at the Farmer’s Market, you can see individuals wearing masks and people who are not wearing masks. On June 15th, the County tier system was eliminated. This allowed fully vaccinated individuals the ability to enjoy themselves unmasked throughout the community.  

If you are a history or art enthusiast like myself, I recommend visiting the California State Railroad Museum. I was lucky enough to enjoy their spacious exhibits and their industrial air-conditioning units! This museum and others alike are a great place to invite friends or family to escape the heat!

Places like the Railroad museum are no longer requiring vaccinated guests to wear face coverings. For the time being, staff and volunteers are still required to wear masks.

Retail shops, museums, and other businesses are now able to open at full capacity to the public. There might be some businesses and museums that are still requiring all individuals to wear face coverings. However, whether you are vaccinated or not, I highly recommend keeping a face mask on your person should the need arise.

For now, everyone will need to remain masked in certain places such as public transit, indoor school classes, health care facilities, cooling centers, and evacuation centers. If you are ever unsure about masking requirements, I suggest either looking up the business or calling them beforehand to inquire about their masking policies.

With rising temperatures reaching record highs, the Sacramento region has implemented cooling stations across Sacramento. When temperatures reach 105 degrees for 3 or more days these cooling stations will become available to the public.

If you are ever in need to cool off, visit Capital Public Radio’s website, where they posted an article highlighting these relief locations, times they are available, and pertinent information regarding excessive heat warnings in Sacramento. You can visit KCRA’s website for a current list of locations to spray parks and community city pools that are open to the public. All Cooling Stations will require face coverings to be worn inside their facilities.

I hope this summer is a wonderful summer for everyone as we emerge from our homes to enjoy everything that Sacramento has to offer, now that Sacramento has fully re-opened!

As always thanks for reading,

Until next time Readers!

Wyatt’s Dining Guide

Our hometown of Sacramento is a melting pot of diverse cultures and delicious foods. Food is not just about enjoying what you eat, it’s also about hard work, team-work and supporting local businesses. 

In this article, I will highlight some of my favorite places in Sacramento to eat, and the positive impact our local restaurants and business owners are making on our community.  Enjoy!

Mulvaney’s B&L and Great Plates

If you are in the mood for hand-crafted New-American cuisine that provides in-season, locally sourced foods, then make haste to visit Mulvaney’s B&L.

Located on 19th Street, Mulvaney’s is not just a restaurant that features a unique menu that changes frequently but also meets our farm-to-fork standards. Mulvaney’s owner, Patrick Mulvaney, is the founder and contributor for the Great Plates meal delivery program. This program has helped millions receive door-to-door meals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mulvaney’s owner Patrick Mulvaney, alongside other restaurants like Canon, Camden Spit and Larder, Binchoyaki, and Woodlake Tavern all came together and started producing mass quantities of meals for Sacramento.

All that was missing was a way for the meals to reach their destination. Paratransit, Inc. was the missing link and provided transportation, not for riders, rather meals.

American Cuisine 

Selland’s Market Café is also a contributor to our Sacramento community by providing meals for seniors. Working alongside us here at Paratransit, Selland’s, and many other local restaurants supply meals for the Great Plates meal delivery program. With each restaurant producing roughly 500 meals monthly to seniors, these restaurants are making an impact on the community by keeping our senior population strong with healthy food options.

Selland’s Market Café on Broadway is a great choice if you want to enjoy indoor or outdoor seating and a stylistic menu. Focusing on a Farm-to-fork cuisine, many of Selland’s ingredients are sourced locally.

Selland’s provides fresh and quick food and drink options in-store, but is also available for delivery, takeout, curbside pickup, and catering. Selland’s Catering is perfect for special events, parties, office meetings, or working lunches, small or large.

When I came to Selland’s for lunch, I ordered a tasty vegetarian sandwich that lived up to its name; the Rainbow sandwich is a colorful and filling assortment of choice ingredients. The Caprese salad and Fruit salad energized my taste buds with fresh ingredients.

Who could forget about dessert? With so many artistically crafted choices available, I decided on the delicious Blueberry and Citrus Tart paired with a sweet Tahitian Vanilla Lemonade.  

If you are ever in the area and want to sit down to an excellent lunch or dinner, choose Selland’s Market Café on Broadway! You can follow them on Instagram @sellandsmarketcafe

Soul Food

If you’re looking for the ultimate Soul food experience, do yourself a favor and check out Tori’s Place located on Grand Avenue.  Tori’s specializes in Gumbo, Hot Water Cornbread, and many other deliciously prepared, feel-good foods.

Tori and her kitchen provided me with a whole spread of top-notch dishes. The Pinto Beans and Black-Eyed Peas are perfectly seasoned, the Mac and Cheese is dangerously addicting, the Chili paired with the Buttered Hot Water Cornbread is a one-of-a-kind combo and the Gumbo is a dish that will make you come back again and again!

Support the locals and make sure to check them out! You can follow Tori’s Kitchen on Instagram @torissoulfood

Japanese Cuisine

If you are looking for Happy hour deals, welcoming staff, and some of the best sushi in town, treat yourself and visit Sushi Café located on Freeport Boulevard!

Open for dine-in, take-out, and patio service, Sushi Café has to be one of my all-time favorite restaurants to go for lunch or dinner. Sushi Café always proves itself to be a community fan-favorite by consistently bringing in a full house of customers while also providing to-go orders.

I like to order my rolls ahead of time and pick them up for a to-go order. I take my to-go order from Sushi Café and drive across the street to William Land Park. There I get to enjoy the sushi, the lakes, picnic areas, and other attractions like the Sacramento Zoo!

If you appreciate sushi and want to give it a try, visit Sushi Café on Freeport Boulevard! You can follow them on Instagram @sushicafefreeport

Food Truck

If you happen to see many Food Trucks in Sacramento, I hope you come across Hefty Gyros. Hefty Gyros is a family-owned and operated food truck that serves delicious and great quality food!

Visit Hefty Gyro’s website or check out their Instagram to see their glowing yelp reviews and their delicious meal options. Providing a mouthwatering assortment of authentic Mediterranean cuisine with Turkish, Greek, and Middle-Eastern Culinary influences, Hefty Gyros provides rich proportions and affordable prices that fulfill your expectations.

I always like to check their Instagram @heftygyros to see where they will be serving for the day! The Hefty Fries with Gyro and Chicken was so flavorful and tender, I can see why it is a fan favorite. I highly recommend choosing Hefty Gyros and look forward to the next time I get to dine with them!

Throughout my dining adventures, I learned not only about great-tasting food but about the hard-working folks behind it all. 

If you visit any of these great places, tell them Wyatt sent you! Enjoy!

As Always thanks for reading, 

Until next time readers!

Spring is in the air

Warm weather, extra hours of daylight, and flowers in bloom. It’s that time of the year again, spring! While indoor and outdoor activities are temporarily limited due to COVID-19, there are still ways to enjoy this year’s spring weather and festivities.

Are you looking forward to outdoor events? There are current events in Sacramento that are available or will soon be available. Places like Sutter Health Park, Golden 1 Center, outdoor Car Shows and more that are making a comeback! 

New Blooms

Utilizing public transit, I make my way downtown to enjoy some of Sacramento’s many murals, blooming flowers and see what events are afoot. 

A great place to go and smell the roses is our beautiful World Peace Rose Garden. Located at Capitol Park, the garden presents an abundance of roses of all different scents, colors and sizes.

Apart from the Rose Gardens, there are other points of interest surrounding the Capitol building. Certain historical displays, memorials and native plant life are all available to the public to see and enjoy.

If you want to find out more about Capitol Park and what there is to see here, visit the California’s State Park website.

Wall Art

When you walk anywhere in Sacramento, it’s hard not to spot a mural or skillfully crafted piece of wall art. Located in alleys, on the side of buildings, mailboxes, electrical boxes and tunnels, murals made by locals are scattered and found throughout downtown! 

In Sacramento, there is a rich source of artistic abilities, and these murals are proof! If you want to see more Murals and works of public art, Lyon Local has a great website highlighting murals and who created them.

Local Markets

With the temperatures slowly rising, delicious fruits and vegetables come into season. A great way to support local businesses, enjoy fresh foods, stretch your legs and get outside, is by visiting our local Farmers Markets or Flea Markets!

Farmers markets are a great way to support local vendors and get some great finds for fresh produce, art and clothing! Farmer’s markets and Flea markets are located all around Sacramento and are available on different days of the week depending on the location. 

Vendors can move from location to location. So, while shopping around, you can find a vendor that you like, and you can follow them on social media to see where they will post up. To see a list of local markets, check out Sacramento downtown grid for a list of market times and locations. 

Spring in Sacramento is filled with fantastic food, great people and entertaining sites and points of interest! 

As Always thanks for reading 

Until next time readers!

Covid-19 Vaccines in Sacramento

As people worldwide receive Covid-19 Vaccinations, we as a community in Sacramento are slowly closing the gap and seeing great strides as people receive their vaccines against Covid-19.

On a cool March morning, I arrived at Natomas High School to help direct traffic for people who were there to receive the vaccine. It was an exciting day with a massive turn-out of eligible participants, nurses administering the vaccines, news stations and other volunteers! 

Together with hard-working volunteers, Paratransit Inc. staff guided hundreds of eligible individuals in their vehicles to begin the process of receiving the vaccine. The community volunteers checked in the eligible participants who drove safely in their cars. Once checked in, Paratransit helped direct all vehicles into neatly ordered rows, where nurses met the participants at their car windows to administer the Covid-19 Vaccine.  

While volunteering, I was overjoyed and amazed at the sight of hundreds of nurses administering Vaccines. Seeing all the faces of the community coming together and working together was truly inspiring!

Fox 40 and KCRA came out to document this historic event. Paratransit Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer, Tiffani Fink, gave interviews regarding Carefree Senior Living at North Natomas and what Paratransit Inc.’s role is in providing transportation. Fox40 and KCRA have posted articles/videos that mention Paratransit and all the hard work implemented for these vaccination sites. The community has come together through coordination and outreach to provide support to vaccination sites like Natomas High School. Through these efforts, the public is now receiving vaccinations in an efficient and organized way!

Paratransit Inc. being the personality that we are, has proudly helped over 100 seniors from the Carefree Senior Living at North Natomas. Paratransit utilized their buses and employees to take Carefree residents to Natomas High School to receive their doses for the Covid-19 Vaccine.

 The process was set up in such a way that seniors did not have to leave the bus to receive their vaccination. Nurses boarded the bus to administer the injections and carefully monitored everyone for 15 minutes before the residents were taken back to Carefree. 

KCRA anticipates that at least 200 seniors are expected to receive their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by mid-March. Carefree Living expects all its residents who want to get vaccinated to receive their second doses by mid-April. Thanks, Paratransit and volunteers, for assisting the community in such an impactful way! #paratransitstrong

By the end of my volunteer shift, I was fortunate that I, too, received my first dose of the Covid-19 Vaccine. It was fast and easy, and I am excited to be doing my part in keeping myself, my family, friends and the community safe. 

Am I Eligible to receive the Vaccine?

If you are wondering whether you are eligible for the  Covid-19 Vaccine, you’re probably not alone. 

The State of California has created a website myturn.ca.gov to help you to determine when you’re eligible for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. After answering a few questions, you can view your eligibility. If eligible, you can make an appointment and schedule your vaccination online!

Everyone in California will have an opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at no cost. But vaccinations are limited in supply. California is starting with groups of individuals who are considered more high risk, like people with a higher chance of exposure to Covid-19 and people 65 years of age or older.

On top of myturn.ca.gov, saccounty.net has current information regarding vaccines, Covid-19 media releases and Covid-19 Vaccination schedules. Through this website, you’ll see visual graphics that go down in tiers indicating which industry/group of individuals in the workforce are eligible to receive vaccinations. This website also provides several vaccine site locations in Sacramento. Just make sure to call ahead of time when scheduling your appointment time. At this time, walk-ins are not allowed. Make your reservation over the phone or online for whichever location you decide to choose!

Do you need to get to your scheduled Covid-19 Vaccine appointment? 

Beginning March 1st, Sacramento Regional Transit started offering free transit rides to Vaccine appointments. 

This includes all vaccination sites in Sacramento county within Sacramento Regional Transit’s service area, including hospitals, pharmacies and other immunization sites.

To ride free, customers need to show a COVID-19 vaccine appointment confirmation in the form of an email, text or vaccine card, which will serve as valid fare only on the date noted in the appointment confirmation. 

This includes services for SacRT’s buses, light rail, Folsom Stage Line, SmaRT Ride or SacRT GO services. When boarding a bus, show the operator either a printout or screenshot on your smartphone or have the confirmation of appointment ready to show the fare inspector when riding light rail.

If you are interested in learning how to ride public transportation or get to your vaccine appointment Paratransit offers specialized one-on-one Travel Training programs that gives you the confidence to ride independently! If you would like more information on Travel Training, please visit my previous post, AmeriCorps and Travel Training, or visit us online at www.paratransit.org.

Once I receive the Covid-19 Vaccine, you may be asking yourself, do I still need to wear a mask? 

For the time being, the answer is yes. Wearing is caring; although wearing a mask can be a little uncomfortable at times, continuing to wear them will keep you and others who are considered high risk safe. 

By receiving the Covid-19 Vaccine, social distancing, and wearing face-cloth coverings, we can see an end to this pandemic!

As Always, thanks for reading ☺

Until next time readers! #paratransitstrong

Americorps and Travel Training

Have you ever needed a group of strong and determined individuals to help with a certain cause or task? Well, if so, your best bet for quality assistance would be AmeriCorps

Serving the community all over the United States and partnering with nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations, AmeriCorps is a leading participant in achieving accomplishments and assisting others!

Americorps teams typically work in groups of 5-7 individuals; these teams are given a 10-month term to serve three different locations/projects all across the United States. Here at Paratransit, we have been privileged to have more than a few groups come and assist with the Volunteer work we have available here in Sacramento. Whether that be Great Plates, Sacramento Food Banks meal distribution, Riding for Tidings or any other task, AmeriCorps is always willing to help out.

Paratransit held the Riding for Tidings event this last holiday season. They received donations of clothing items like beanies, scarves, and even local art from across the Sacramento region for older individuals! 

The meals and resources that we provide go a long way for people who have been self-isolating throughout this whole pandemic. Keeping people safe, fed, 

and encouraged is a service I know Paratransit will continue to provide throughout and past this pandemic.

While AmeriCorps is here at Paratransit, they not only get to help out with Great Plates and other volunteer programs, but they also have the opportunity to participate in trainings. These trainings include our Travel Training Program, where we work with individuals on how to safely and independently use public transportation. They also participated in our sensitivity training and learned how to assist individuals with mobility aids properly.  

Travel Training 

Does riding Public Transportation seem like an arduous task? Or maybe you don’t completely understand how to get around Sacramento using maps/ buses/ light rail? Well, here at Paratransit, we offer a beneficial program, Travel Training!

On top of my writing Where’s Wyatt, I am also a Professional Travel Trainer! Working alongside a few other qualified and experienced individuals, we get the opportunity to teach people the skills needed to safely and effectively navigate public transportation. The Travel Training Program increases confidence and independence throughout Sacramento and the surrounding districts! 

With Travel Training we have three approaches to training, and the trainee decides which program best fits their schedule and needs. We have our Standard, Virtual and Hybrid Travel Training. 

Standard Travel Training was the primary way we performed training prior to Covid-19. Working with an experienced trainer, we meet trainees in person at their home residence or closest bus stop and take a public transportation route. Along the way, show them useful apps that help them navigate transit and make the whole experience extremely user friendly.

Our Virtual Travel Training is conducted through various online platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Google Duo. The training is relatively similar to the Standard training in that we cover all the same material; apps, etiquette, routes, and other safety training. Working with trainees over these different online platforms, we are allowing individuals who still need to obtain essential goods and services the opportunity to participate and gain confidence riding transit!

The Hybrid Travel Training is a combination of our Standard and Virtual training. We cover all the pertinent information and training through online platforms and then meet with the individual for a scheduled ride-along to their destination of interest. This allows the trainee to implement the skills they learned through the online platforms. Following Covid-19 guidelines, we provide face cloth coverings, hand sanitizer and maintain 6 feet social distancing to ride with a trainee. I suggest the Hybrid training option to individuals who have little to no experience riding public transit!

While AmeriCorps is attending training here at Paratransit, I had the pleasure of working with them! 

AmeriCorps participated in our in-person group travel training. I asked a couple of them to rate the experience and would they recommend this training to friends or family. Maggie commented, “Travel Training was a positive experience and it helped me learn more about transit”. Tyler also mentioned, “It opened my eyes to a bunch of services I didn’t know about, and I would definitely recommend it to my family!”. 

Working alongside AmeriCorps with training or with Paratransit drivers delivering for the Great Plates Meal Program, I always seem to be doing something proactive and positive! Thanks, Paratransit ☺

If you or someone you know is interested in joining AmeriCorps and helping out all across the United States, you can go to their website at americorps.gov and apply to become an AmeriCorps member today! If you or someone you know is interested in Paratransit Inc.’s Travel Training Programs, please go to our website at paratransit.org under Mobility! 

P.S. Thanks to all who help

I also want to acknowledge and give credit to all the drivers, schedulers, volunteers and restaurants who participate in the Great Plates Meal program for reaching 1,000,000 meals provided to high-risk individuals and older adults in Sacramento and the surrounding districts! This is a hard earned achievement that has a lot of care and hard work put into it. 

As Always thanks for reading

Until next time readers!

The Gift of Giving

As a child running to open presents on Christmas day surrounded by warmth, food, and family is nothing less than magical. This love for holiday tradition of receiving gifts and enjoying the holiday festivities continues into adulthood. Being able to spread joy by gifting others is nonetheless magical in itself!

This year, a few of my good friends came together and decided to extend the gift of giving to those in need in our local Sacramento community. We always talked about creating Homeless backpack Kits for our town, but the plan never came to fruition until this year.

Charged with excitement to help out our community, my friends and I got to work! We started by reaching out to our friends and family members asking If they would like to donate anything that could be of help to those in need. The outpour of support was astonishing! We received donations of money, shoes, clothes, hats, gloves and clothing items such as women/men’s shirts and jackets; which was just the start!

What started with the idea to create 20-25 Homeless Backpack Kits quickly turned into us making 50 backpacks! When we realized how many people are willing to donate, we all started feeling the power of giving and how positive it truly can be.

Extending the opportunity to give back, we reached out to a few local organizations and businesses who eagerly and happily participated in donating masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, and dental hygiene kits. Paratransit Inc. was one of the generous organizations contributing to our cause (with no surprise!). 

Paratransit was more than willing to provide proper Personal Protective Equipment, PPE (masks, gloves and hand sanitizer) not just for my friends and me to keep us safe, but to supply all the backpacks as well (aren’t they awesome). ☺

With the money donated, my friends and I could purchase what wasn’t already donated; food items, backpacks, multiple non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, toiletries and water bottles. 

Packaging the kits was turning into great fun! Keeping an organized journal log of what we bought made the process a whole lot easier. 

Equipped with enough backpacks to supply a small army, my friends and I packed the Homeless Backpacks Kits and loaded them into a couple of vehicles for distribution throughout our Sacramento community. 

Since this was our first time putting together something like this, we learned a lot about how to coordinate money properly, time and supplies to assemble purposeful Homeless Kits. With what we learned and experienced, this will not be our last time gathering and distributing supplies for those in need. 

Appreciating and recognizing the lesson that giving is truly greater than receiving, we want to use what we learned and make this a tradition to create winter kits and summer kits! 

Knowing there are certain specific resources available in Sacramento to any individual is commonly overlooked. The Youth and Community Connect website is a great way to get connected to public organizations that deal with employment, volunteering, housing and shelter and even locations where schools supply free meals for children under 18. Knowing some resources and organizations are willing to provide year-round can go unnoticed by many individuals, but not unappreciated! 

This whole process was truly unforgettable, and I hope everyone and anybody gets to experience the same feeling we had of providing for others.

To all who contributed, I want to give a big thank you and hope that you know that we wouldn’t have been able to do this without your contributions! Our hearts are so full because of the generosity shown. It has not gone, unnoticed! 

As Always thanks for reading 

Until next time readers!

 

Lime On-Demand Transit

If you ask any individual “what power would you want for a day?” the most popular answer you would hear is to fly. The feeling of flying sounds like an impractical but iconic ability to have. One of the closest activities to flying I have found here in Sacramento, is Lime! 

Lime, like many other on-demand transit options, is available through the Apple and Android AppStore. Once you download the app, follow the prompts for registration, and add a method of payment you can then search to find available scooters!

To start a ride you may either reserve your scooter over the app, or you may scan the QR code directly on any scooter available near you.  

Reserving a scooter and riding around town is exactly what I did this week! Traveling 6 miles in roughly 45 minutes, I was able to see many of my favorite points of interest in Sacramento. 

Parking by the Embassy Suites near Old Sacramento I don’t have a difficult time finding available scooters to choose from. A lot of these charged-up scooters in this area are around a 5 minute walk away. Kicking off my Lime adventure I began from the Crocker Art Museum and then started cruising across the beautiful Tower Bridge. 

Whenever I ride I always remember an important piece of etiquette for riding any electric scooter; ride as much as possible on streets. In an article written by abc10, they note this rule of thumb that is stated by Officer Karl Chan with the Sacramento Police Department. “Basically our e-scooters are considered motorized vehicles and they cannot be on the sidewalk and have to be ridden in the bike lane or a lane of traffic closest to the side of the street.”

Riding the top speed of 13-15 mph you probably don’t want to collide with a passerby when wrapping around a tight corner on the sidewalk. Just stay cautious and always maintain a reasonable amount of awareness for your surroundings!

Continuing on, I reach the River Walk trail over in West Sacramento. This is a really fun path to ride with friends as it is a wide open path that allows for friendly competition to see who will arrive first at Drakes: The Barn. 

Drakes is not only a great place to go eat delicious pizza and have a good time with friends and family, but also a great place to exchange your scooter if you don’t have a fully charged battery. Drakes, like many other hotspots around downtown, is a hub where Lime and other scooter services load their fully charged and sanitized scooters onto bike rack areas to be available for the public. 

With so many on-demand scooter options being available at hotspot: Lime, Spin, Bird, I appreciate that Lime creates a space for equity. Lime offers Lime Access, which provides discounted fares to low-income or qualifying riders. 

On top of being a business entity that provides affordable transportation, they also have Jump bikes available over their app. Per the rider’s preference, you may either ride with a scooter or bike. It’s up to you! 

Continuing on my Lime ride, I got to pass through Old Sacramento. With places like Candy Heaven, Joe’s Crab Shack, California State railroad museum, and local small businesses, there is always something to eat, learn or do. 

A historical attraction you can visit while riding is the Pioneer Park. A small and ordinary looking chunk of Old town that is representative of the original level that Sacramento used to be at. 

In the mid to late 1800s, constant flooding occurred regularly in the winter time in the young and gold-filled city of Sacramento. With this flooding occurring, the city was forced to adopt a three-pronged approach to flood-control. They would need to raise the city’s level with wooden planks, re-route the course of the American River and construct levees to maintain a safe and dry area for the new town and its booming economy.

Today, this area of Old Sacramento that citizens constructed back in the late 1800s remains recognizable as the Raised Streets and Hollow Sidewalks District.

When riding in this historical part of Sacramento, you should take extra precaution with the roads. Laid with cobblestone, the roads aren’t exactly made for electric scooters to ride on. Finding a smoother pathway that isn’t a sidewalk is your best bet getting around in these parts and a great way to get some window-shopping in.

After I got to explore my favorite parts of Old Sacramento, I made my way to one of my most favorite parts of this route. The K Street Tunnel! As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, flying is an impractical but iconic ability. When you have your scooter and you roll down towards the K Street Tunnel that is the exact feeling you get!

Not only is the tunnel illuminated with brilliant LED lighting, but there is also an array of murals lining the walls from different artists in and around the area. When visiting the K Street tunnel, I can usually find local entertainers here performing music, demonstrating art and even holding dance groups

With this tunnel connecting Old Sacramento to DOCO – Downtown Commons, making my way to the Golden 1 Center is a breeze! 

Another rule of thumb to follow is respecting when to ride and when not to ride. With areas like DOCO, there are signs that indicate no ride zones. Fortunately however, you can walk your scooter through these parts. 

In the app there are also listed areas that are low speed and no locking Zones. Where the top speed is 5 mph and ending or pausing your ride is impossible.

After the Golden 1 Center trip I decided to see the State Capitol and our World Peace Rose garden. Here at the Rose garden there are about 650 roses in over 140 varieties of colors and fragrances. A great place to come and smell the roses!

When it came to me concluding my adventure, I made my way back to the Crocker Art Museum and properly parked my scooter. Making sure not to block sidewalks I ended the ride, parking my scooter near a bike rack. 

Scooters can be fun and useful. If used correctly you can budget them into your daily commute or just use them as a resource to get around with friends in Downtown. 

Taking in the sights; while making sure I’m staying safe for me and other residents is something I hope you as a reader will do when you ride your Lime scooter around Sacramento as well.  

Until next time readers!

Quality Service for Getting Around: Paratransit Drivers

There are a bunch of different mobility options I can use to get around Sacramento. I can walk, take my own personal vehicle/bike, take Regional Transit’s buses/light rail systems, Lime scooters… the list can keep going! But a main way I have been getting around lately is by Paratransit.

Bright and early on a September morning, I got the pleasure to help Transportation Operations Supervisor, Brian Benitez, and a few Paratransit drivers load up Sacramento Food Bank boxed meals to go out for delivery. As I am riding along the route for the day, delivering meals, I got to reflect on the fact of how I’m able to help in the community. While riding down the road to our next stop, how can I not reflect on Who is getting me there?

When it comes to being a Paratransit driver, I’ve seen what it takes. If you are a practical, independent, caring, empathetic and realistic individual then you would most likely make an excellent driver!

Whenever I ride with Paratransit, the drivers are always emphasizing safety. One thing Avis, a Paratransit bus driver delivering food for Sacramento Food Bank, stressed to me whenever I was boarding the bus was to “watch your step”. This small saying to me displays how much drivers really care for their passengers and their well-being.

Even when it comes to a situation where one doesn’t have to step in, Paratransit drivers step up to the occasion. Jerry, another Paratransit bus driver delivering for the Great Plates meal program, always was looking out for other drivers’ safety. Alerting others properly and communicating appropriately, letting other drivers know what’s safe and what’s not safe.

Every Paratransit driver must complete a routine exterior and interior check of their bus before their route. In doing so, they ensure a smooth ride for themselves and whoever they are transporting that day.

Drivers excel at situations that call for ensuring safety. I know that whenever I ride, I will always be in the best hands.

Synonym for Driver – Team Work Specialist

When working with Drivers, I never feel left out or left behind. Participating in volunteer work for drivers is something relatively new that was brought upon with the age of COVID-19. Transportation Operation Supervisor Kevin Rickman states, “Usually these drivers are used to working alone.. so working together as a team is kind of new to them”. Kevin works with drivers daily and is constantly assisting them. When it comes to training, daily schedules, even etiquette as to where to park Kevin guides drivers to understand the nuances of transportation.

Given a task, drivers communicate and work together to find a way to produce excellent results. Even if technology is acting finicky, maps seem to disappear or roads seem insurmountable, I always feel like I’m in capable hands. Although I am usually not acquainted with the driver at the beginning of the day, by the end of the day I know I have one more teammate I can work with!

Jerry and Nancy, two incredible drivers I got the chance to ride with, appreciate working to distribute meals and food for families/older adults. But they also miss working and assisting their previous passengers. “I miss my passengers, they are like old friends” Jerry shared with me.

When my driver Avis told me about how Paratransit is “Family orientated”, I completely agreed with him. If just after one day I got to form such a positive rapport with them as drivers and me as a rider, I’m sure the drivers miss their previous teammates, the riders.

If you want to appreciate your community, help others and work as a team, you would most likely make a great driver yourself! If you are interested you may visit Paratransit’s website here to check availability for positions as we are currently hiring!

Thank you Paratransit Drivers and all the other transportation staff for everything you do for our community. You are appreciated!

Until next time readers!

Volunteering in Your Community

September is National Preparedness Month – which right now is a bit thematic – but also very important! When it comes to getting together and obtaining proper resources and food to shelter-at-home, a lot of families in Sacramento may have a difficult time acquiring food for themselves and their families.

The South Sacramento Interfaith Partnership (SSIP) Food Closet, located at 5625 24th Street, is a great resource for obtaining food. Open M-F 9-11:30am, these volunteers and staff are considered essential as they provide meals for adults and for K-12 students as well.

Being prepared and providing meals during COVID-19, is second nature for SSIP, although getting volunteers nowadays can pose a bit of a struggle.

Simon Yeh, Food Closet Supervisor over at SSIP, shared with me that most of the volunteers that he had, previous to COVID, were older adults. With stay-at-home recommendations, a lot of those older individuals, who volunteered on a regular basis, are now unable to volunteer time in turn for securing their own health and safety.

When these regular volunteers were no longer available, educators in Sacramento stepped up to help by volunteering their time with SSIP to provide meals. Now with Virtual learning and school starting back up, a lot of these teachers/administrators/staff are no longer available to volunteer themselves.

Finding volunteers at this point, to help with such an essential service is difficult. “It’s been a challenge,” Simon shared with me.

So I got to asking Simon how can people in Sacramento, who are able, volunteers for SSIP?

First you would want to check you’re availability and how often you would want to volunteer. Simon references in his announcement for volunteers, “Once a week or once a month – whatever you can offer.” Being a family orientated resource, SSIP wants to see how they can work with you, that way you can be safe.

While providing proper PPE and practicing COVID-19 preventative measures, you can volunteer as a distributor; sorting and bagging food and carrying food packages to families vehicles. Or even as a driver; picking up and dropping off food from SSIP’s listed grocers.

If you interested in volunteering specifically with SSIP, email : volunteers@ssipfoodcloset.org providing your full name, phone number and your dates of availability.

If you’re interested in volunteering your time in other kinds of work here in Sacramento, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Hands on Sacramento. Certain Facebook groups regarding volunteer work seem to be another great way to connect and see who needs help.

Mobility, Delivery, Community

I’m noticing that for families and individuals who are getting prepared to shelter-at-home, it takes a lot of teamwork and coordination to provide proper support.

Paratransit, Inc. once again steps up to be an ally when it comes to serving the community. Working with programs like; Great Plates Program, Sacramento Food Bank, Broderick’s Roadhouse delivery, SSIP and many more, Paratransit holds the title for being an essential and necessary part of our Sacramento community.

David Edgar, Executive Chef for Sacramento City Unified School District, briefed Paratransit employees; Jamila, Jessica and myself, on the how to provide breakfasts and lunches. When given the opportunity to distribute 2,500 individually wrapped meals to local families, it first appeared to be arduous task.

But we were not alone when it came to distributing these meals! Volunteers from around the city came together to assist. Mercedes Parker, a Youth Coordinator at Marconi Learning Academy, was a great help in packaging meals and giving support to the other volunteers. Officer Debrielle Browder of the Sacramento Police Department, worked hard carrying box after box of meals to families car-trunks and backseats.

Being able to socialize and contribute to the community means a lot right now. With a lot of people telecommuting and social distancing, It doesn’t leave much room to properly get socialized. Being able to contribute by volunteering, is positive and safe way for the community to touch bases.

When it comes to volunteering, while you are helping others and being a part of your community, I think volunteering means a lot for self too! It is something that makes you feel accomplished and gives you an opportunity to pat yourself on the back. I always get excited when I get the chance to help out our Sacramento community. I mean, September is national Self-Improvement month!

Until next time readers!

Wyatt M.

Wyatt M.

“Where’s Wyatt?” is a new blog series from Paratransit, Inc. focusing on a young Sacramento native as he navigates his hometown through public transportation. Each edition will highlight options that local young people can learn all about in the Youth Travel Training program offered for free by Paratransit, Inc. We welcome you to join us on Wyatt’s journeys and to share his blogs with your friends!