Last week we shared Part One of Ellen Teran’s story of being a neighbor to those she’s met in the Rosedale Ridge apartment complex. Today we share the second part of her story, telling how her efforts have already begun to make way for a solution.
So I met with the head of transportation that Monday morning and was so encouraged to hear that a group who works for the Rosedale Developmental Association had been working on the bus stop for a year and a half. They researched, got signatures of area business people, met with the head of transportation etc, and wrote a bus route that would go by Frank Rushton Elementary, KU med, Rosedale Ridge, grocery stores, the library, etc. He told me that it would cost $130,000 each year to fund the route, meaning it was a matter of money at this point.
I was excited about the news, but was still frustrated that he was saying IF this got in the budget, it would be at least another year. I asked him what we could do to push it along. I told him several stories about my students at RR, and he told me not to tell anyone but that he suggested I bring some kids to the public budget meeting that night.
I called my students mom (the one who had been homeless and had all of the provision with furniture) and asked if she could find someone to watch the two youngest boys so she and the three girls could come with us to the meeting. She said she had no one to watch the boys but said I could take the girls.
Paul wrote a beautiful speech, telling my students’ story and pleading with the mayor and commissioners to make the bus route a reality. We got to the meeting with three beautiful, perfectly behaved girls ages 4, 5, and 6. They were SO excited and sat coloring as we waited our turn to present. The first people who presented was the group from Rosedale Development Association who had done all of the research. They gave all of the facts and passed out a map of the route they were requesting. After about an hour, it was our turn to present. I got up there with the three girls and spoke to the mayor and commissioners. As soon as we were done, we snuck out (the girls had day still long enough) but as we were walking out, one of the commissioners stopped us in the hall to meet the girls and said: Ellen, I am so touched by their story. We are going to make this happen!
The next day I got an email from another commissioner saying she was also deeply touched–and that the bus route is in the 2014 budget! We took the girls to eat and play and then dropped them off. Their home was furnished, and they were happy to go home! (A contrast from the kids often begging us to let them live with us!)
Anyway, it is just amazing that as I was so discouraged for these families and as we prayed and listened to the moms and worried: an amazing group was working on a SOLUTION!!
I am praying it comes sooner than 2014!!!!
Ellen Teran is a third year Kindergarten teacher at Frank Rushton Elementary School and married her husband, Paul, in 2010. Paul is a medical student at the University of Kansas Medical School. Both attend Jacob’s Well regularly.