BART Summer Youth Program engages Bay Area Students


BART Summer Youth Program engages Bay Area Students

This summer, more than 500 students, ages 4-18, participated in BART’s Summer Youth Program, organized by the agency’s Government and Community Relations Department. The annual program, now in its sixth year, is designed to educate local youth about BART, its operations and significant role in getting people in and around the Bay Area.

As a way of giving back to the community, BART absorbs the costs for the student travel. Traditional program activities included trips to the San Francisco Airport and guided tours of BART maintenance facilities, but this year program coordinators focused on showcasing some of the wonderful cultural and educational activities accessible by BART.

“Our goal was to show students there are an array of fun destinations and activities you can enjoy by taking BART” said Kerry Hamill, Department Manager of Government and Community Relations. “Many youth, particularly those from low income families, have had limited opportunities to travel on BART. We are providing them with that opportunity.”

This year, BART was very fortunate to partner with some great community organizations, which offered youth a chance to experience the arts and explore the great outdoors. Host organizations included the San Francisco Symphony, Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, Oakland Museum of California, Museum of Children’s Art, Children’s Fairyland, and the East Bay Regional Park District. We want to acknowledge that even during these difficult financial times, each agency very generously hosted the students free of charge. With such a diverse selection of places to visit, students enjoyed activities such as classical music concerts, museum tours, pottery making, puppet shows and ecology tours on bicycles.

On the way to their destination, students also had the opportunity to interact with BART staff, BART Board of Directors and BART Police Department personnel. The various guest speakers provided a general overview of the BART system, spoke about their role within BART and answered student questions. “The youth are very smart and retain so much of the BART history and information we share with them,” said Lisa Moland, a staff member in the Government and Community Relations Department. “Students leave our tours knowing how fast the trains go, how the Transbay Tube was built and how many stations there are in the system.” The youth also learn about BART safety and security through a demonstration conducted by a BART Police Officer and canine trained to locate explosives.

More than 20 community organizations, schools and summer programs serving low income and minority youth participated in this year’s program. The youth, who ranged in age from kindergarten to high school, came from all over the Bay Area including Pittsburg, Richmond, Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco and San Mateo.

Community Partners for BART’s 2012 Summer Youth Program:

A. Philip Randolph Institute

Chinatown Community Development Center

Court Appointed Special Advocates of San Mateo

Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco – Tenderloin Clubhouse

Donaldina Cameron House

East Bay Asian Youth Center

East Oakland Youth Development Center

Elmhurst Community Prep Middle School

Lake Merritt Child Care Center – Family Bridges

Lincoln Square Recreation Center

Matt Jimenez Community Center

Mission Education Project, Inc.

Oakland Police Activities League

Richmond Family Services

Richmond Police Activities League

Roosevelt Middle School

Roots International Academy

Skyline High School

STS Academy

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YMCA - Bayview Hunters Point

YMCA - Downtown Oakland

If you are interested in participating in BART’s Summer Youth Program for next year, please contact the Government and Community Relations Department at 510-464-7227.