Last week Richmond city councilmember Corky Boozé, together with BART, gave 18 school children from across Richmond a once-in-a-lifetime experience by taking them on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Oakland Museum and San Francisco Airport as an opportunity to learn new life skills. The idea was to show kids who rarely get the opportunity to leave Richmond how to get around the Bay Area by using public transit.
“These are children with single parents,” said councilmember Booze. “They are young people who live with their grandparents and basically don’t have the opportunity to experience this type of thing.”
Jackie Thompson, a volunteer and chaperone for the trip, said they divided the city by geographical areas and took about five school children from each area: Parchester Village, as well as the central and south sides. Some kids were introduced to the idea during the Juneteenth celebration, while others were selected by staff at various community centers, she said.
From Oakland, BART government community relations representative Lisa Molend accompanied the group to the San Francisco Airport. She showed them where the conductor sat and told them how fast the train went under the bay. She said the main thing the children learned were safety tips. “They know they have to stand behind the yellow line, use the intercom for emergencies and use their inside voices when they are inside the train,” said Molend. “They also saw the third rail if they or someone else fell off the platform. So it was a lot of good safety tips.”
For Dalunique Hicks, 11, of King Elementary School, catching the BART was the highlight of her day. She said she likes BART because it allows her to get away from her community a little.
“The most fun thing I did today was seeing the big airplane go in the air,” said Deari Cole, 9, of Harting Elementary School. Cole said he had never seen airplanes that close before the group visited the airport.
With a little more luck, Jackie Thompson said maybe next time a new group of Richmond kids can go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to stir their imaginations.