Keeping L.A.’s youth on the move

I’m not an expert on L.A. County’s foster care system, but I imagine transitioning out of foster care to independent living comes with its own unique set of challenges. But thanks to programs like Youth on the Move, the process doesn’t have to be quite so daunting.

Youth on the Move is a transit pass program offering mobility to foster youths participating in the Los Angeles County Youth Self-Sufficiency Program. Since Youth on the Move launched in July 2012, more than 5,000 youths have received free annual TAP cards and EZ passes that allow them to travel anywhere in Los Angeles County to get to school, work and more.

All of the youths in the program are self sufficient, meaning that they are no longer living with a family or are transitioning out of a group home setting. And all are either employed, looking for work, going to school or in many cases, all of the above.

Photo courtesy of Miani Giron.

Photo courtesy of Miani Giron.

As the program continues into its fourth year, I was able to catch up with one of the original Youth on the Move participants, Miani Giron. Miani decided to sign up for Youth on the Move when the program launched because she was commuting to school via transit.

“It has provided me with accessible, reliable, convenient transportation that allowed me to focus on school not logistics,” said Miani. “I am also a huge fan of public transportation. Especially with the opening of the new Metro rail lines, my world has expanded even more.”

Miani currently attends medical school. She commutes to Westwood from South Central Los Angeles and instead of wasting time stuck in traffic, she’s able to study while riding Metro to class. And thanks to Youth on the Move, her transportation needs are covered so she can dedicate her energy to getting that degree.

Youth on the Move was also a recipient of a NACo achievement award earlier this year. Participants in the L.A. County Youth Self-Sufficiency Program who are interested may fill out an application here.