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Update, 4/11/2011: PayPal and Google Checkout links have been removed. Please see the 4/11/2011 post on our news page for more information.

TransitPeople is a Los Angeles charity that conducts educational field trips for inner city school children using public transit. If you ride transit here, you may have spotted elementary school classes in TransitPeople jerseys, riding the train for an Aquarium trip, or waiting for a #754 bus ride to the Natural History Museum. We’re a pretty familiar sight in the South and East Los Angeles neighborhoods where we do much of our work.

We took our first trip to the zoo in 1999, and have chaperoned more than 30,000 kids since then, from over fifty local elementary and middle schools. The Los Angeles Times, Time Warner Cable, Long Beach Press-Telegram and other local media all have featured stories about TransitPeople.

That's the two paragraph introduction.

But why should you support us?

We Serve Los Angeles Kids

If you live in Southern California, you’ve probably seen articles and television shows about the plight of children who grow up among gangs and poverty in the tougher parts of L.A.

Well, those are some of the kids we work with. They have to put up with an awful lot to make it through childhood here, and it would be nice if they could at least count on the growing-up experiences that most adults take for granted: a field trip to learn about dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, or to explore the childrens' books at the Central Library.

But today, field trips for L.A. kids are in short supply.

There are several reasons why. The economy is in trouble, and the state’s budget woes have taken a cut out of field trip funding. (You'll learn more if you read the L.A. Times and MSNBC articles linked at the bottom of this page.)

But any working teacher can offer another reason: the overwhelming emphasis in public schools today is on standardized tests. Kids memorize facts and figures, but leave childhood without the irreplaceable, out-of-school educational experiences that every kid deserves. We regularly work with children who have never visited an aquarium, who have never looked up at a giraffe at the zoo, who have never stepped inside the Science Center or an art museum.

If you remember field trips from your elementary school days, please consider: those experiences might mean an awful lot to someone who isn’t that much different from what you were like as a kid, who is probably growing up pretty close to you right now.

We Spend the Money Well

Exceptionally well.

You’ll find links for financial information and our Guidestar charity report at the bottom of this page. Since 2003, at least eighty-four percent of yearly expenses have been just for admission costs, insurance and transit.

At least. Everything else –- the jerseys the kids wear, training costs, postage and delivery charges – has accounted for sixteen percent or less of the yearly total.

We’re all volunteers. We don’t even rent an office. If you’re looking for a Los Angeles charity that will use your donated dollars wisely, you need look no farther.

We Use Public Transit

For at least three excellent reasons:

  Environmental: According to the Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices from the Union of Concerned Scientists: is hard to avoid the conclusion that personal use of cars and light trucks is the single most damaging consumer [environmental] behavior. pg. 86

Public transit is how TransitPeople gets around, so we introduce children to an environmental best practice on every single trip.

  Cost Savings: Thanks to the generous help of the local Metropolitan Transportation Authority, we usually don't have to pick up the tab for our bus and train travels ... another reason we can stretch donated dollars as far as we do.

  We Open Up the City: Admission at the Science Center is donation only. A future Marie Currie or Jonas Salk can’t rent a school bus to go back for another look in the World of Life gallery ... but can ask Mom or Dad or an older sibling to ride back with her or him on the #81 bus.

And the kids often do. They tell us so. They remember the transit routes and return with family members.

That's our best case for support. If you'd like one more reason to give, please look over the photos on the left hand side of this web page. Every one of those kids traveled with us because our donors pitched in and helped make our program possible.

TransitPeople is a 501(c)3 public charity, so all donations are fully tax deductible. You’ll get a receipt, if you donate. And gratitude. You’ll deserve them both.

Update, 4/11/2011: PayPal and Google Checkout links have been removed. Please see the 4/11/2011 post on our news page for more information.

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