Friday, April 04, 2014

Ride Along with Ay

Excerpt from the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates report "Connecting Youth to Opportunity: Better Understanding the Needs of Disconnected Young People in Washington, DC":

The DCAYA survey asked questions speci´Čücally about transportation, as it has been a consistent concern among providers that work with at-risk youth. Students use a variety of transportation options in getting to school/programs (bus, metro, car, foot), and as a result there was variability to the costs associated with transportation. Nonetheless, nearly one-third (29%) of students reported spending more than $30 a week or $120 a month getting to and from school. Equally concerning, 47% of survey respondents who spent more than $30 a week came from Wards 5, 7, or 8. While young people who are connected to a traditional K–12 school are eligible for some transportation subsidies from the DC Government, these subsidies do not extend to young people older than age 22 or those who take classes outside of the traditional school calendar. Given the low earning power for many students, and the level of participation in non-traditional programs, the reality is that transportation costs may be a prohibitive factor in a student’s ability to re-connect.


My name is Ay, pronounced literally by the letters, so A-y. I go to School Without Walls, and yes we have walls. I plan on doing a lot of things in the future but my central focus is to be a lawyer. 

Leaving so early is kind of scary. Especially when there’s no one around. But you get use to it and speed walking is a nice exercise! I never take the bus to the metro because I find it to be extremely unreliable.

Sometimes when you have to walk to the metro things don’t always go your way. Especially in the winter. The one path that takes me to the metro fastest likes to freeze up and turn to ice. Then I have to circle all the way around.

If you hear there’s a problem on the red line (which is about every other week) you gotta leave even earlier to make it to school. If not, you get stuck waiting for the train. Sometimes you have to get off because of “mechanical problems” and board another train that is already crowded. So you squish together like sardines.

A lot of times the bus decides to come 50 minutes after it’s suppose to be here. How am I supposed to be on time if my transportation method isn't? Sometimes I can’t take the train and have to rely on a bus. But it’s never the better alternative.

Guest blogger Ay participates in the youth development program Brainfood, which uses food as a tool to build life skills and promote healthy living. Her favorite Brainfood dish is Jamaican beef patties. She says they are "Super delicious!". 

By taking snapchats and telling snippets, readers may get a sense of a youth's daily commute around DC. If you know of a youth who would like to be a guest blogger for DCAYA, please contact the multimedia and communications manager Angela Massino at 

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