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Experts Form Industry-First Group To Examine Equity, Access and Safety in Youth Transportation

Individuals across child rights, highway safety, foster care, technology, and community planning join first-ever Equitable Access To Transportation Advisory Council (EATAC).

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Ten highly qualified experts from across various organizations devoted to transportation, child welfare, road safety, community planning, education, and technology have joined together to examine the challenges and opportunities in expanding safe, equitable transportation policies for the 54 million students enrolled in US schools.

These individuals, part of a new group known as the Equitable Access to Transportation Advisory Council (EATAC), will work together to understand where gaps may exist for vulnerable populations, like youth in foster care, and those facing poverty and homelessness. EATAC will examine the connections between disruptions to safe, reliable transportation access to school, and the devastating role these gaps in policy can play in students’ lives.

The group is coming together with HopSkipDrive, a leading technology company solving complex transportation challenges where there is a heightened need for safety, equity and care.

“We know that transportation is a lifeline for communities around the country, and expanding access to transportation is key to improving outcomes across the spectrums,” said Vanessa Davis, EATAC founding member and Co-Manager of Foster Youth in Action. “Together with other experts in this space, EATAC will explore how school rides  and youth transportation in general are important building blocks towards true equity in education. I expect to highlight that a large part of our vulnerable populations don’t have any form of reliable transportation, and we therefore need to consider reasonable solutions and potential new policies.”

Davis uses her lived experience as a former foster youth, a former licensed foster parent and her broader lived experience in her work to help to build the collective capacity and collective power of national member-led groups within the FYIA Network.

The full list of Founding members of the Equitable Access to Transportation Advisory Council are as follows:

● Nadia Anderson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Chief of Staff and Strategy, Silicon Valley Leadership Group: Anderson is an experienced senior management professional with deep experience and research qualifications from the transportation and mobility sector. She partners with her CEO to help execute high-priority programs, projects and initiatives, and provide strategic guidance to SVLG’s senior leadership team.

● Kerry Chausmer, Program and Member Services Director, Governor’s Highway Safety Association: Chausmer oversees the federal and private sector grant programs and the association’s member services at this nonprofit, which represents the state and territorial highway safety offices that address behavioral highway safety issues.

● Torine Creppy, President, Safe Kids Worldwide: Creppy works with partners, donors, legislators and community leaders around the world leading a global nonprofit dedicated to protecting kids from preventable injuries.

● Vanessa Davis, Co-Manager, Foster Youth in Action: Davis’ passion for bringing about durable change for overlooked communities can be felt by all who know her. She uses her lived experience and creative passion to design services that fill gaps for transition age foster youth.

● Natalie Draisin, Director of the North American office, FIA Foundation: Draisin leads global efforts to advance evidence-based solutions that improve equity and public health. At the FIA Foundation, a global philanthropy dedicated to safe, sustainable mobility, she brings partners together across borders to address common challenges and creates initiatives to fill gaps in the field.

● Kim Dvorchak, Executive Director, National Association of Counsel for Children: Dvorchak, with more than 25 years of experience advancing the rights of children in law and policy, leads a national team of policy and practice experts, focused on improving legal representation and ensuring access to justice for children and families navigating the child welfare system.

● Robert Enlow, President and CEO, EdChoice: Enlow works with his team of national experts to advance parental freedom and opportunities in K-12 education. He and his team disseminate research, undertake training, sponsor seminars, conduct advertising campaigns, and invest in and organize community leaders to address how education is innovating and evolving.

● Ta’Londa Holland, Senior Director of Policy and Influence, Urban Strategies Inc.: A licensed clinical social worker, Holland leads policy and system change strategies to advance equitable outcomes to serve USI’s children and families. Holland is a founding board member of Kentucky’s Race, Community and Child Welfare (RCCW) initiative.

● Zahra Marin, National Policy and Organizing Director, National Foster Youth Institute (NFYI): Marin specializes in positive youth development, community engagement and leadership development, and has worked with several organizations and networks committed to the empowerment and advancement of current and former foster youth and minorities.

● Kristie Stutler, Vice President of Policy and Influence, Urban Strategies Inc.: Stutler leads USI’s policy and influence division which focuses on advancing policy and system change to drive equitable outcomes for the families that USI serves. Stutler was a Class 10 fellow in Annie E. Casey’s Children and Family Fellowship program.

“The Equitable Access to Transportation Advisory Council will help foster long-term change in the ever-evolving landscape of education and how road safety plays a critical role,” said Chausmer. “We must ensure equitable access through safe transportation policies for every child, no matter where they live and how they use the roadway. It seems simple, but focusing on how our kids get to school can help kids go to school.”

To best support this consortium of experts, HopSkipDrive will help to highlight and distribute the Council’s findings and suggestions, along with any potential policy recommendations they put forth.

“HopSkipDrive will connect our past work on safety whether it was through our Advisory Board or our continued annual reports to the EATAC initiative,” said Joanna McFarland, CEO and Co-Founder of HopSkipDrive. “We are well suited to gather our colleagues to together advocate for action and accessibility, through educational challenges like racial disparities, financial pressure, safety and other concerns in the midst of issues like chronic absenteeism.”

About HopSkipDrive:
HopSkipDrive is a technology company that solves complex transportation challenges where there is a heightened need for safety, equity, and care. HopSkipDrive’s marketplace arranges care-centered transportation across 13 states and Washington, DC, supplementing other transportation options by connecting kids, older adults, or anyone needing extra support, to highly vetted caregivers on wheels, such as grandparents, babysitters, and nurses. HopSkipDrive also builds software and offers advisory services that solve the biggest transportation challenges facing schools and school districts around the country, including budget cuts, bus driver shortages, and climate goals. HopSkipDrive partners with more than 600 school districts, government agencies, and nonprofits. More than 3.3 million rides over 61 million miles have been completed through HopSkipDrive since the company was founded in 2014 by three working mothers.

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