Cynda M., age 19, is a travel training success story. A 2014 graduate of a Westminster high school, Cynda is like other young women her age—in transition, wondering about her future, setting some life goals and gaining independence from her family.
For Cynda, a key to her independence was learning how to use public transit so she could get from her home in Westminster to Project SEARCH, a school-to-work transition program for high school students with intellectual disabilities, located at the Denver Federal Center. She entered Via’s travel training program with encouragement from her school counselor, terrific emotional support from her parents, Wayla and Sid, and her own enthusiasm to find her life path.
Getting to the Denver Federal Center from Westminster is no easy task. Beginning with a comprehensive in-home assessment in early June, Cynda started working with one of Via’s expert travel trainers, Brian Burton. Today, Cynda can leave her back door and make multiple complicated connections to arrive at the center at 8 a.m.
From the start, her family had trust and confidence in Brian’s knowledge of the fixed-route system as well as adaptive training techniques.
“We want her to be independent, and transportation is a huge part of being independent. But it is not easy to navigate the fixed-route system,” Wayla, her mother, said. “Cynda’s successful participation in Via’s travel training program is part of her growing up and my learning to let her go. Travel training has opened up a whole new world for her and for her father and me.”
Upon completion of the 15-week Project SEARCH program, Cynda hopes to find a job at a Red Robin restaurant (recruiters, keep your eyes out for her) or a party supply store. For now, though, she can get to the Federal campus, the library, the bank, the coffee shop, Elitch Gardens and wherever else she wants to go — on her own.
Via’s metro-Denver travel training program is funded by RTD and a federal grant. It is available free of charge to older adults (age 60+), people with disabilities and others living with mobility limitations who reside in the metro-Denver region and who live within the RTD public transit system.
For more information about travel training, contact Susan Unger, Via’s travel training coordinator, by email or at 303-447-2848 ext. 1048.