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Detroit Bus Company launches crowd-funding campaign

Feb 24, 2015

The Detroit Bus Company launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for their Youth Transit Alliance.

The Alliance, which began in 2013, helps get kids from the Southwest Detroit neighborhood of Springwells to after-school programs, then safely back home afterwards, for free. 

"The idea is that a kid can then go to a project that they're passionate about and attend a program that they really are interested in, rather than just the one that they're closest to," Andy Didorosi, the president and founder of Detroit Bus Company, said. 

There are more than 40 after school programs in Southwest Detroit alone, funded by the Skillman Foundation, yet each was facing the same problem: under enrollment. And the under-enrollment was mostly due to a lack of transportation for the kids. 

That's when the Detroit Bus Company decided to step in. 

The YTA picks kids up and takes them to the program of their choosing, then takes them directly back to their home. A chaperone called a conductor rides the bus with the kids, helping them with homework and walking them from the bus to their doorstep to ensure their safety. 

Some of the programs available include karate, web design, graphic design, screen printing, and more. 

"It is really pretty amazing what is available to kids," Didorosi said, "and if we can just provide a bus ride, that's all the difference." 

The difference is that kids who attend after-school programs have better school attendance and grades, and are more likely to graduate from high school. 

However, if the YTA doesn't meet its fundraising goal by March 25, the buses will stop running March 31. 

-Paige Pfleger, Michigan Radio Newsroom