This story was written and photographed by Daniel Kibezi as part of the Kalamazoo Voices of Youth Program. The photos are staged for illustration purposes. The Voices of Youth program is a collaboration between Southwest Michigan Second Wave and KYD Network, underwritten by the Stryker Johnston Foundation.
A junior at Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan, waits for the bus. The bus isn’t always available and when it is, he often has to wait a long time before it comes. The student develops anxiety not always knowing when he is going to be able to get home. Sometimes he has to ask his parents for a ride, but they aren’t always available to get him because they have to work in order to provide for the family. The youth has trouble in school because he spends a lot of time worrying about transportation and is often at the bus stop for a long time. He wonders why there isn’t a bike share program or other ways that would help him get home quicker. Students who don’t live by each other need to work together to help each other get to and from school and activities. The school and teachers could work with students who have transportation issues by allowing more time to turn in assignments when issues arise. (Photo illustration)
People start to miss school because the bus no longer reaches their house or stop. As a result, teachers are forced to count students either late or absent. This frustrates parents because their children are falling behind or failing for something they can’t control. (Photo illustration)
Biking is one example of another way to get to school, but not everyone has a bike or can afford a quality bike, and some students live too far from the school to bike there. Some students may also find biking dangerous, having to be in busy roads before and after school. Other students may not know how to ride a bike or have a disability that prevents them from riding. The school could reach out to the kids who are having a hard time making it to school and see what those barriers are and try to help. Those who live close, could ask neighbors or family members to borrow bikes. (Photo illustration)
Four people waiting for the bus prepare for what it will feel like once they are riding as those with bus privileges are often crowded and smashed together. Because they are all crowded together, they stay quiet to protect their own personal space. (Photo illustration)