Mobility Management Through the Eyes of an AmeriCorps Member

posted Feb 23, 2017, 2:26 PM by Nick C.
By Kayla Jack

“Why Mobility Management?”  you ask. “Let me tell you…”

I am currently a senior at Binghamton University and actively involved in the Caribbean Students Association, where I have served as both Secretary and, currently, Treasurer. I have also been a mentor for JUMP Nation.  JUMP stands for Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program and takes at-risk youth in the 8th grade from the NYC area and brings them to Binghamton University for four days. While here, they are engaged in seminars, workshops, and fun activities designed to inspire them to go to college. An affiliation with JUMP Nation entails a four year commitment, during which members teach and encourage their mentees, showing them that they can succeed and become something. This is a fulfilling experience because many of the JUMP mentors have similar backgrounds as the mentees—these shared experiences create a connection that makes for an easier transition. I currently have three mentees, and I am happy to say that they are in high school trying their very best. 

After my involvement with programs like these in school, I decided it was time for me to branch out and find some similar ones in my community. It is great having an impact on youth in The City through JUMP Nation, but it is even better being able to do something impactful right here in Binghamton. After some research and job hunting, I was able to find Mobility Management of South Central New York (MMSCNY). Being a Mobility and Transportation Advocate for Mobility Management of SCNY is my first concrete “paid job”- (I am not technically an employee.) 

A challenge is helping people understand that Mobility Management is not ‘just setting up a ride’ for someone. It is so much more. Mobility Management is connecting people from all walks of life with the transportation resources that are available to them, many of which they do not know about. It also involves informing and educating people on how they can utilize the transportation systems that are available.
Doing outreach to various community members, including disabled individuals, the elderly, and nursing home residents, among others, can involve teaching them how to take the bus, ask for a transfer, board and exit safely, cross the street safely, etc., all while making it a fun experience--that too is Mobility Management.
I have always enjoyed learning new things. Being foreign to the Southern Tier, I had a lot to learn. Growing up in suburbs where every form of transportation is readily available, it was a revelation to see what transportation is like in rural New York. I had to tailor my mindset differently. 
There is nothing more rewarding than being a voice of assistance for those that really need it, and I am happy to be able to help individuals and the community. Having great colleagues makes my experience even more worthwhile. I admire the work done by MMSCNY, both individually and collectively. It feels even greater when we exceed certain goals, such as the amount of calls received and respond to by the GetThere Call Center in a single year. 

I thank the Rural Health Service Corp, which is the AmeriCorps program administered by the Rural Health Network of SCNY. Through this program I found Mobility Management of South Central New York. AmeriCorps has provided me with community service experience that I have been able to utilize in all aspects of my life. Networking events, trainings, and special projects have all given me important insight.

Before joining AmeriCorps, I thought I had my future plans all figured out but during the process something changed. That is alright because change is good! I knew I wanted to do law, social work, and be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t quite know how to bridge the gap between all three. This experience has given me clarity and I am truly grateful for all of it. From working with the elderly population, I have decided that after graduating from Binghamton, I want to continue my education and pursue a dual master’s degree in both social work and business administration. Then it’s on to law school for my Juris Doctor degree.
I am dedicated to my goals and I try not to let obstacles get in my way as I keep working towards my dreams. I am confident that one day I will become a lawyer specializing in elder-care law, and possibly start a non-profit organization. I feel my future is bright as long as I remember what is truly important in life.