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The Nationwide #SoundTheHorn Campaign

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Categories: Blog, Community, Employees

Traffic lights and cars on Michigan Ave

On the road, horn honks are typically used to alert other drivers or pedestrians. Today, they will be used to say two words: thank you.

At 3 p.m., our operators will honk their horns twice in solidarity with transportation workers nationwide as part of the #SoundTheHorn campaign.

“We proudly sound our horn today in honor of transit workers the world over who are doing their part to contain this tragic pandemic,” said CATA CEO Bradley T. Funkhouser. CATA participated in the original campaign on April 16 and again on May 21.

Operators will sound the horn once to thank healthcare professionals, grocery store clerks, first responders, gas station employees, and other heroes who are performing critically essential work during COVID-19. They will sound the horn a second time to thank transportation workers nationwide for getting these essential workers where they need to go.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the dedication and commitment of our own essential workforce has been nothing short of heroic,” Funkhouser said. “Our call takers have fielded tens of thousands of calls. Our operators, mechanics, utilities and facilities personnel are working together to fulfill life-sustaining and medically necessary trips, as well as trips to get critical-infrastructure employees to work, often at great personal risk.”

Searching for your own ways to thank essential workers and spread positivity during COVID-19? Check out a few ideas here.

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Connecting with Library Services during COVID-19

Monday, March 23, 2020

Categories: Blog, Community

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to make sweeping changes to our daily lives. Toilet paper is the hottest item on the market. Social distancing is the norm.

For the health and safety of our employees, riders and the general public, CATA even temporarily suspended its fixed-route services. We resumed limited summer service May 26 with rear-door boarding, fare-free rides and mask requirements.

Other public services are adapting as well, such as Capital Area District Libraries.

Since CADL is closed through late June, we're counting down three ways you can still connect with their services.

1. Tune in to a storytime show.

CADLtales is a kid-friendly educational series with stories, songs and learning activities. Shows are filmed at the downtown Lansing branch, so while you may not be able to visit the  branch in person, you can play these storytime shows whenever you’d like.

You can find a full playlist of episodes on CADL’s YouTube channel. Click here to learn more.

2. Go digital with download and streaming services.

Library cardholders can download or stream books, music, movies and more. No need for a Netflix subscription here. A bonus of going digital? You don’t have to go to the library to return borrowed items, so there are no overdue fees.

Explore CADL’s impressive digital library here. It even includes comic books!

3. Create your own historical adventure.

Explore our community’s history through thousands of images and documents with Local History Online. Conduct your own research, go on a virtual historical scavenger hunt or flip through photos that pre-date social media. No library card required.

Click here to start exploring.

Check out this cool piece of Lansing history! You can find more historical Lansing photos with CADL Local History bit.ly/3bEN5h6

Posted by Capital Area District Libraries on Friday, February 14, 2020

Want another look at Stevie Wonder's time in Lansing? Check out this video testimonial from Below the Stacks.

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A Heart for Service

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Categories: Blog, Employees

Employee Margaret Stephens stands in front of the CATA Transportation Center

Margaret Stephens loves being the customer experience manager at CATA.

“I make sure our customer service representatives treat all CATA customers with respect and provide an excellent experience for them,” she said. “We want to treat each customer with dignity and get them where they need to go. It’s corny, but I’m one of those people who really loves my job.”

It’s not corny at all, especially considering the unusual path that brought Margaret to CATA.

Margaret grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and, due to a family situation, was homeless for the last half of her senior year in high school.

“If there was one thing I’d do differently it would be to go to college right out of high school, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around where I was going to sleep the next day, let alone go to college.”

The mother of a childhood friend let Margaret move in, with the understanding that she’d move out upon graduation.

“I took the city bus to my high school graduation, walked across the stage, got my diploma and took the bus back to their home,” she said. “I knew I needed to find a new place to stay, and I needed to get a job.”

Donna, another close family friend, took her in. Donna’s husband, Junior, owned an electrical contracting company – the first black-owned business of its kind in Ohio.

“Junior gave me my first job,” she said. “He paid me $200 a week, and he made me learn everything there was to learn about doing business. Payroll, reading blueprints, being on time to work.

“In a way, that was my college. There was so much he taught me in the two years I worked there that I knew for the rest of my life I was going to be OK.”

Margaret moved to Michigan, taking a job with Michigan Bell. Through the company’s tuition-reimbursement program, she went to the Detroit College of Business, then Washtenaw Community College, and ultimately earned her bachelor’s in business administration from Eastern Michigan University.

“In those college classes, they covered so much of what Junior prepared me for,” Margaret said. “All those classes made sense – even English, because Junior made sure everything that left his office was professional and grammatically correct.”

When she turned 50, Margaret told her family and friends that she wanted to work with the public. “Without community outreach organizations throughout my life, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she said.

Serendipitously, a recruiter contacted her about a customer experience job with CATA.

“Right away I said, ‘Yes, set me up for an interview,’” she said.Margaret posing with CATA Director of Marketing & Customer Experience Lolo RobisonToday, Margaret is stationed in the CATA Transportation Center, helping people get where they need to go. Junior has since passed away, but their families have remained good friends through the years.

“I didn’t realize it until recently the impact he had on my life,” Margaret said.

She said she enjoys working with younger people who are starting out on their own life journey at CATA.

“I want to be able to influence them the way Junior influenced me.”

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