By: Paulina Rojas
THERMAL, Calif. — As soon as this summer students at Desert Mirage High School will no longer have to worry about transportation to some of their favorite after school activities.
The Desert Recreation District has teamed up with The California Endowment and Desert Mirage to pilot the REC ROUTE, a transportation program aimed at giving students in the eastern Coachella Valley access to safe after school programs.
“This pilot program would service Desert Mirage High School as a 15 passenger van that offers free and convenient transportation for east valley youth to access various recreation and enrichment activities,” Karina Rodriguez, Community Services Supervisor at the DRD said.
The REC in REC ROUTE stands for Recreation, Education and Culture. It is part of an effort to promote physical activity and social cohesion.
Some of the locations along the route include the Boys and Girls Club in Mecca, the North Shore Community Center and the Thermal Community Center. The program is also expected to ease access to cultural and special enrichment events.
In February, DRD created a youth advisory council at Desert Mirage to ensure the program meets the needs of youth at the school. Juan Aceves, a sophomore at Desert Mirage, said he joined the council because he believes the program will give students, like him, access to much-needed transportation services.
“I think it’s a really good idea because young people don’t have transportation to get to many places. For me, [the REC ROUTE] would help a lot because I need help getting places,” Aceves said. “I live in Oasis, and when my parents work overtime and my siblings are in school, I need help getting to the store or the library.”
The youth council, made up of 16 students, meets twice a week. The students are currently in the process of surveying their peers to get input on planning transportation routes.
The REC ROUTE program is expected to launch this summer.
About the author:
Paulina Rojas joined Coachella Uninc. as a beat reporter in February 2016 after working as a city reporter in the eastern Coachella Valley for more than a year. Although born and raised in New York City, Paulina feels right at home in the eastern Coachella Valley. She loves the warmth of the people and buying fresh bread from her favorite bakery in downtown Coachella. Paulina is a graduate of the University of Houston, and her work has appeared in The Las Vegas Review – Journal, The Houston Chronicle, HelloGiggles and Vivala. View her author page here.