By Madeline Collins
Funding provided by City College was cut last semester for the shuttle van program that safely transported students from different areas around the city with high crime rate and gang activity.
Students were shuttled to the Southeast campus to attend the GED program, as well as other courses.
The A. Philip Randolph Institute San Francisco organized and ran the program that began receiving funding in January 2012. A contract was drafted and signed with City College to fund the shuttle van and outreach program for six months. It was then extended to a year-long contract.
City College contributed $26,000 for each six-month contract.
Funding was cut in November 2012.
Representatives from the A. Philip Randolph Institute attended and spoke at the Dec. 13 City College Board of Trustees meeting, along with students that benefited from the program.
Student Tim Henderson, who passed the GED program at Southeast campus, shared a poem at the Trustee’s meeting.
“The van was courageous enough to take us past war territory left empty. For us, what was once an opportunity is now one more hurdle to jump, one more reason to stay home,” Henderson said.
The van transported students from various areas with most stops being made in low-income areas, including Alemany, Bayview-Hunter’s Point, Sunnydale, Potrero Hill, Alice Griffith and the Fillmore.
Many students can’t travel through certain blocks or areas of town due to gang activity, so public transportation was often not an option.
The institute began a pilot program in the summer of 2011 that included outreach and recruitment to students that expressed interest in participating in a high school equivalency program. The courses were originally held at the institute’s office, but by the end of the summer they could no longer afford instructors on their own.
The institute’s outreach program contributed to the enrollment of over 80 students in the GED program and other courses at the Southeast campus. Approximately half of those students needed the shuttle service to get to their classes safely.
The 12-seat van was driven by Eddie Kittrell, a housing authority member in the Potrero Hill community and a volunteer at the A. Philip Randolph Institute San Francisco. Kittrell feels that the program made a positive impact on the participants.
“Without this transportation they have no way to get to school,” Kittrell said. “With the shuttle van they look forward to the ride and going to school.”
After funding was cut instructors from the Southeast campus reported that attendance to GED programs dropped by over 50 percent.
Despite funding being pulled, the A. Philip Randolph Institute continued running the program, but with limited resources.
A decision about continuing funding for the program from City College has not been made.
Flin hopes to continue the program and has sought out other sources to fund the program. She has looked into receiving funding from the City, as well as taking donations from the community at their website.
For more information on the program you can visit www.aprisf.org.
Follow Madeline on Twitter: @maddiecollins05