Time to Get Serious About Menifee Rides Program

We may be small in number, but we're mighty in purpose.

The Menifee Rides program was first introduced in this space several weeks ago, when it became apparent that school bus service in the Menifee Union School District would be drastically reduced for the coming school year. Since then, we've created a website and a Facebook page as message boards for parents whose children face transportation challenges this school year.

So far, the response has been less than overwhelming. But that's OK. Maybe most of the parents have already arranged a carpool for their children or have other arrangements to replace the school bus. If so, that's great. We're here only to give folks another option.

If only five or 10 of us work together to transport a few children to school, we're still doing a great service.

I understand that this is not the perfect solution. I get it. Yes, it would be nice to have more money in the school district budget for buses. It would also be nice to have more money for more teachers, and school supplies, and extracurricular activities. But right now, it ain't happening. So you take what you can get.

What we're offering is a program in which parents trust each other enough to help each other by driving children to school. In many cases, these arrangements could involve friends and neighbors who already know each other. If not, let's get everyone together so no one is a "stranger" going into this.

If you're worried about the liability of driving other children or of the potential danger in letting your child ride with someone else, remember that no one is forcing you to participate. We have no funds for a million-dollar insurance policy. We have no funds for expensive background checks.

What we do have is a bunch of people with good hearts -- people who believe we can make this work. We have people who will make safety the top priority before anyone gets into anyone else's car.

To begin building that sense of trust, it's time for those involved to meet face to face. I'm proposing a meeting next Monday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. for all those who are truly interested in participating. Where? Depends on the response. I'm hoping my living room is too small for the crowd. If someone wants to donate a meeting room, great. If not, we'll meet in a park somewhere.

We just need to get it done.

So let me know if you're in. Time is short, with school starting next week. There are several ways to contact me:

Email menifeerides@gmail.com

Leave a comment on our website: menifeerides.blogspot.com

Leave a comment on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/menifeerides

Those who have previously contacted me will receive an updated reply by tomorrow. If you still need help or can volunteer to drive, please let me know, including whether you can attend a meeting Monday night.

We can do this.


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