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Columbia County partners with youth organizations to launch new bus route

July 19, 2018 01:36 pm

HUDSON — This summer it will be easier for young people to participate in youth programs. Columbia County just launched a new summer youth bus, solving a transportation challenge for young people living between Philmont and Hudson.

The bus runs Monday to Friday and is free for youth in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The bus leaves from Philmont at 8:25 a.m. It has stops in Claverack, Stottville, Greenport and Hudson. At 3:15 p.m., the bus leaves Hudson and travels the reverse route. The full route will be posted at columbiacountyny.com/public-transportation.html

The bus will make it easier for youth to participate in summer programs, including the City of Hudson’s Oakdale Lake, Mental Health Association’s Youth Clubhouse, Hudson Area Library, and Kite’s Nest. In addition to the listed stops, the bus can pick up and drop off youth at any point along the route, if notified in advance. The bus has an aide to help youth get to the right stop.

To sign up, youth riders need to submit a registration and permission form. The form can be submitted online or upon boarding the bus. Registration forms are available at tinyurl.com/hudson-youth-bus.

“Summer youth programs have a positive impact,” says Robert Gibson, Commissioner of Columbia County Department of Social Services. “Getting young people to these programs is an important preventative measure, steering people towards positive outcomes and reducing the risk of required rehabilitative services later.”

“Commissioner Gibson and Columbia County are providing an essential service,” says Kaya Weidman, Executive Director of Kite’s Nest. “Without this new bus route, many young people couldn’t participate in some of the great programs happening in Hudson, they would feel isolated or unengaged over the summer, and miss out on important opportunities.”

The idea of the Summer Youth Bus Route was created through a multigenerational planning institute called Raising Places. Kite’s Nest and Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood brought together community leaders and a youth advisory board to look at community problems and propose solutions. Nick Zachos from the Hudson Youth Department was a Raising Places team member and contributed to the ongoing transportation planning efforts.

“The idea of the youth bus route came directly out of the Raising Places community workshops,” says Supervisor Michael Chameides (Hudson-3). “The community identified a need, and I’m impressed how quickly the Raising Places team and Department of Social Services implemented a solution.”

The summer youth bus is created at no cost to Columbia County. According to Gibson, the program qualifies to be fully covered by the Flexible Funds for Family Services Program and 100% of the costs will be reimbursed by the federal government.