Everyone’s getting on the bus, it seems…
At Get On The Bus, our mission statement is to “unite children with their mothers and fathers in prison.” However, what we actually do is so much more! It still never ceases to amaze me how many people get involved in our efforts to create such a special day for the children. As Suzanne always says, we have 3 basic needs: To know and to be known. To love and to be loved. To give and to receive.
Get On The Bus taps into all of these basic needs, which I believe heightens the program’s success. When we were featured last year in Good Housekeeping, we received 8 inquiries from around the country, Canada, and South Korea wanting to know how to start a similar program. In addition, yesterday we received a commendation e-mail from Germany.
Last year, one of our great volunteers Scott from SLO likened his Get On The Bus experience much to being a member of a happening club like the Sierra Club. Scott commented, “It is the new trendy thing that every person in the SLO area wants to be a part of. ” When Scott said that, it made me glow from ear-to-ear. It made me realize that this thing has its own energy and it is much like a movement. I also was credited for perpetuating a trend. How awesome is that? ;p
It wasn’t until last night that that really hit home for me. I went to a lovely fundraiser organized by one of our bus coordinator’s Jessica at the Naples Rib Company in Long Beach. My in-laws were visiting so I invited them along. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was packed and there was a 30 minute wait. Coming from a restaurant family, I knew this was very good business for such a big place on a Thursday night.
We were led to our table in a back room that was decked out in our Get On The Bus colors, purple and white. She had a lovely photo display with brochures and a donation jar. There were posters adorned with purple streamers, a poster people could sign for the children and the GOTB video cued up in the background. I thought, “isn’t this a cute little thing?”
Jessica was so excited that I came and when she came to greet me, I paraded her with accolades. I said, “I can’t believe you got this whole back room.” She then corrected me and said, “Maria, we got the whole restaurant! I was in the midst of decorating but it got so busy that I had to stop.” I was awestruck. This whole restaurant easily seated probably about 200 people or more and there was a wait and everyone was there for us. Wow!!
To top it off, as we were leaving, my father-in-law, who is from NJ, was walking out and he saw his long time customer of 30 years. He asked the customer what he was doing at the restaurant and his reply was simple, “I’m getting on the bus. What are you doing?” My father-in-law said, “I am getting on the bus too. It seems everyone around here gets on the bus.”
My father-in-law was right everyone does get on the bus. Everyone comes together united in mission. Can you imagine how different the world would look if we all united? If we all thought first about the children before anything else? I can and that is why I will be getting on the bus this year. Want to join me?