Unleash immigrant creativity via transportation

Tej Dhawan | Chief Data Officer, Principal Financial Group

The Idea: Create volunteer sign-up facilities to help carpool students lacking transportation to and from extracurricular activities.

Immigrants add more than human diversity to our city. As any visitor to the farmers market has observed, the variety of produce and herbs has multiplied since the arrival of Burmese, Sudanese, Bhutanese and immigrants from many other lands. The colors, flavors and experiences are what draw me to the market.

These very immigrants’ kids, however, hold themselves back from making similar contributions to our schools. Transportation choices limit immigrant children new to our communities from participating in before- and after-school activities.

Often lacking basic transportation, many are unable to participate in creative endeavors like marching band, dance teams, jazz band and myriad other activities that occur before or after school.

We have an opportunity to introduce diversity into our creative activities by creating volunteer sign-up facilities for carpooling those who may want to sing, dance, cheer, play an instrument or participate in sports.

Being a marching band, show choir and dance team dad, I am well aware of the homogeneity on the fields in our school district. Though kids try to give others a ride, lack of formal structures otherwise afforded by school buses cause an exclusion of an increasingly large student body. These students, when afforded the opportunity, often excel at the very endeavors proving once again that creativity knows no borders.

You have undoubtedly been exposed to African drums, Creole jazz, Punjabi dhols, French and German choir songs, and much more. Wouldn’t it be incredible to see children from their very lands perform pieces native to their parents and grandparents?

Imagine the cultural explosion mere transportation could deliver to our communities! Let’s try to fund the buses, the carpools, and increase awareness to level the playing field. >