Dozens of kids in the Minot public school system are unable to pay for a public transportation pass to get to and from school.
The Minot Area Community Foundation wants to change that with your help through the Bus Pass Challenge.
A monthly bus pass costs students $28, which is a discounted cost from the public transportation system. But for some kids and their families that could be the difference between breakfast and getting to school on time.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that that extra $28 a month or two or three times that if they have multiple children, it’s a hardship that a lot of families can’t afford and so sometimes attendance is simply a struggle because they don’t have a way to get to school,” said Shannon Ostrom, the dean of students at Jim Hill Middle School.
Ostrom has been working with the kids to learn their needs and she says as a result of the inability to pay for commute, some kids miss out due to lateness or missing school altogether.
“I have seen a student every day counting their change saying that is this enough for me to get on the bus today and if I can give him a pass once a month and he doesn’t have to worry about that I mean that’s a huge leveling of anxiety for a kiddo who is supposed to be sitting in class, learning all day,” said Ostrom.
When Ostrom brought this to the attention of the Minot Area Community Foundation, they decided to do something about it.
“At this year’s fall grant meeting all of the applicants submitted videos talking about their requests and the need that it fills. One of the ones that everybody was shocked by was the attendance issues with students in Minot and how transportation is a barrier,” said the foundation’s Finance and Programs Director, Staci Kenney.
The fall grant meeting is where the power of the purse, a subsidiary of the foundation, decided to step in.
They are a group of 30 women who take on projects to give back to others. Now, they are encouraging the public to donate to this challenge.
“The request was for $5,040 to purchase month-long bus passes and the group said you know what we want to involve the community. We want to see if we can get more and that’s how the bus pass challenge happened,” said Kenney.
The foundation plans to match the donations which will then be used to buy the bus passes for kids at Jim Hill Middle school and for other students in Minot Public schools.
So far $1,400 has been donated and if you would like to step up to this challenge you can make donations via PayPal.