ELEVATING URBAN TEENS AND BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES
Progressive Pathways offers ideas and resources, particularly to urban youth and the disenfranchised to help reduce socioeconomic disparities through knowledge, skills and opportunities. With an ecologically conscious approach, a prime focus is to provide teens with life skills and driving lessons in order to obtain a valid learners permit and Minnesota driver's license. Our program is designed to help lessen societal risks, while elevating our youth into adulthood. With improved knowledge and confidence of its members, we will help to build stronger communities with environmentally conscious awareness.
PROVIDING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES TO URBAN YOUTH WHILE IMPROVING SOCIAL AWARENESS
We are helping underserved young people become licensed drivers while being environmentally conscious. Many teens are not afforded this opportunity, especially in Minnesota, where the socioeconomic gap is one of highest in the nation. We work to close that disparity by providing urban youth with access to excellent driver training, access to alternative modes of transportation, including electric bikes and cars to drive and the skills to be responsible for their use and maintenance. Communities benefit from the development of confident, safe drivers given an equal opportunity to do so, as well as from the community involvement activities that are required in exchange for the driver's education classes.
HOW DRIVING LESSONS HELP CLOSE THE SOCIOECONOMIC DISPARITY GAP IN MINNEAPOLIS
An important skill for teenage youth is to learn safe driving and obtaining a valid driver’s license, but there is a large percentage of 15-year-olds in the Twin Cities without the means to enroll in a Minnesota drivers education program. Most of the driving schools hold class during late evening hours in the suburbs, which limits many inner-city teens without transportation from committing to 30 hours of classroom lessons. Drivers Ed is no longer part of high school curriculum as it has been in the past, and there are very few, if any, driving schools within Minneapolis. Even if this first portion of the licensing process is achieved and the teen passes the permit test, they are then required to complete 50 behind-the-wheel hours at home, in addition to the 6 hours with a certified driving instructor.
While the state licensing process is designed to develop safe drivers on the road, in some ways, it also contributes to racial disparity in our cities. While the right of passage of getting one’s drivers license is expected for many families, for others, often in lower income communities, the process can seem unattainable. $450 may be very difficult to reach. It could be the amount of monthly rent or it could keep utilities on for the month. This amount of money may not seem like much to some, but to others, $450 can mean survival, or even unattainable. And if the family doesn’t own a car, then why bother worrying about a teenager getting their driver’s license?
But many of these teens will probably still drive. They are likely to purchase a car, too. But they won’t have a valid license and they won’t have insurance. As young people often do, they will think they know how to drive, but they won’t have actually learned the rules of the road and they will, inadvertently, pose a greater risk to others on the roads.
Many teens have to work or help get siblings to school, so they take the risk - and a great risk it is, because this situation typically leads to loss or destruction of cars and other property, tickets and fines that compile and twist into never being fully resolved, still without a driver’s license. Still needing to work, get groceries, get to school and work on being an adult in situations already full of extra hurdles to overcome, they enter cycle low income people know so well regarding unpaid tickets and fines and unable to actually attain valid license to drive in Minnesota. This is a socioeconomic disparity.
WE TRAIN OUR DRIVERS TO UNDERSTAND THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF DRIVING
We offer an environmental component to our drivers education program that is not part of any other driving program, which allows us to educate young drivers about the effects that driving has on the environment. We offer and encourage alternative modes of transportation for health of the individual, the community and the planet. We are working to modernize driver's education to reflect more than just the experience of driving.
DONATE AND RECYCLE FOSSIL-FUELED VEHICLES TO HELP URBAN YOUTH AND OUR ENVIRONMENT
Donate your car, boat, farm equipment, scrap metal or even an old airplane to Progressive Pathways to help us further our mission for equal opportunities and environmental improvements. Your donation is tax deductable and will be recycled, reused and provided to help urban youth in the Twin Cities. With our environmental focus, we will work to recycle to the extent possible for our environment. Thank you!