Life and Work Connections

Gabriel Gains Independence

September 6, 2015
Gabe poses before he gets on the bus
Gabe stops for quick picture as he boards the bus to go to work.

Gabriel, a senior at Rock Bridge High School, was interested in learning how to use the COMO Connect city bus system so that he could travel independently to work from school and then back home. This summer, he began working with Christi Brown, Community Skills Specialist with Life & Work Connections, on a temporary skills training program to bring him up-to-speed on using the bus to get around town.

“We started working together in June,” says Christi. “We would meet once or twice a week and we would drive the route together in my car and then ride the route on the bus together. Then I would meet him at the bus stop where he gets on the bus and then meet him at the bus stop where he would get off the bus. Gabe picked up the bus routes really quickly.”

“I like the feeling of independence of riding the bus,” says Gabe who now takes the bus from school to his job at Aris’ Pizza.

Gabe and Christi also practiced other routes around Columbia so that Gabe could go to the grocery store, the library, the mall or wherever it is he’d like to go. “Gabe already has a good sense of where he is in town and where local landmarks are. He seems excited about the idea of taking the bus to Parkade Center to get his hair cut independently.”

“Gabe feels comfortable using his cell phone to call the bus station to ask for help if he needs it,” says Christi. Next, she’d like to work with him on how to use the COMO Connect app so he can have easy access to bus schedules and routes.

“Gabriel was nervous and hesitant the first time riding by himself,” says Christi. “But now he has the confidence he needed to do it himself. This experience has him thinking about other options after high school, like attending college. It’s amazing what a little confidence can do!”