Almost eight years ago, Chanel Mason was diagnosed with a medical condition that made it impossible for her to drive. Since then she has relied on Omnitrans for all her travel needs, from picking up groceries to going to school. Riding the bus allows Chanel to maintain her independence and gives her the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of being a teacher.
“Education has always been important to me. When I was in 12th grade, I was scoring 100% on all my work. I went to my teacher because I was worried. How would I know if I was actually learning and improving? The teacher told me to just be happy that I scored 100%,” Chanel laughed. “I don’t think that way. I always want to be growing and learning new things.”
Her goal is to eventually teach first grade because she loves the curiosity and personality of that age group. “I really want to work with high risk kids,” said Chanel. “I grew up poor and I understand the kinds of challenges they have to deal with. I think I’m someone they could relate to and that I could make a difference in their lives.”
As a Cal State University of San Bernardino (CSUSB) student, finances are still an important issue for Chanel and she does what she can to stretch her resources. Over the past year she was able to take advantage of the Go Smart college pass program, which allows students at participating colleges to ride Omnitrans for free with their student ID. “Go Smart was a huge help,” said Chanel. “Instead of paying for bus fares, I was able to use that money for textbooks I needed. There are a lot of us at Cal State who really relied on that program and it’s going to be hard for us when it ends this month.”
The funding for the Go Smart program ends June 30th. Students at other participating colleges have opted to continue the program by voting yes on a referendum that would add a $7.50 transportation fee to their college fees each semester. CSUSB chose not to hold a student referendum at this time.
This week, Chanel was very excited to discover she was the winner of the Omnitrans Dump the Pump photo contest on Facebook. Her prize was a free 31-Day Bus Pass that she plans on using for school this fall. “Every little bit helps,” she said. “Without Omnitrans I would be in a lot of trouble.”
If you want to see the Go Smart program continue at CSUSB for the 2012-13 school year, please make your voice heard. Tell them why this program is important to you and other students.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CSUSB
ASI Associated Students Inc.
909-537-5932 or 909-537-5930
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/asi.csusb
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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