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100,000th ride on the neighborhood circulator

December 11, 2009

More than five years ago, community organizations and parks and recreation workers in St. Paul, Minn., began thinking of ways to bring kids to places where they could learn and socialize with one another. They imagined–and got funding for–a free bus that would run after school and during the summer, connecting the library to a neighborhood landmark, with stops in between at schools, parks, community and recreation centers, and a large housing complex. Keeping young people connected to other people and to learning opportunities is the goal of the West Side Neighborhood Learning Community, a coalition of neighborhood organizations, local government, and residents working together to ensure that children grow up as successful, engaged citizens.

The West Side Circulator worked so well in its first few years, that staff in the mayor’s office secured private funding for another circulator on the city’s East Side two years ago. This month, the West Side Circulator reached a milestone when the 100,000th rider boarded the bus!

Pictured above is Semyia Navarro, 8, of St. Paul, one of about 80 kids who rode the West Side circulator bus every day to afterschool programs in the neighborhood. (Minnesota Public Radio Photo/Laura Yuen, 2008)

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