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Angels of Lansing: How KCS Angels is Changing Lives

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Categories: Blog, Community

CATA’s mission is to meet the mobility needs of our region by providing innovative solutions in partnership with the communities we serve. That’s why CATA is proud to support KCS Angels’ mission to help people with disabilities enjoy safe, therapeutic recreation, physical activity and life skills development in an inclusive environment. In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, programs for adults with disabilities are underfunded and there is a greater need for programs such as the one KCS Angels provides. In light of this, CATA is showing support for KCS Angels by providing a donation of $2,500 for use toward Spec-Tran services for their members. We’ve provided this with hopes it can help the KCS Angels fulfill their passions with this noble cause.

CATA and KCS Angels standing with large donation check

“It's [this program] everything to me, I don't want to do anything else," said one of the KCS Angels founders, Tracy Smith "I've watched the Angels, all of them, bloom and become themselves." 

Tracy's brother-in-law Scott, and two other adults with disabilities were the co-founders and creators of KCS Angels, which is a registered nonprofit 5o1(c)3 in 2016, to help support peers with inclusive activities in the Lansing area. It was founded with ‘Angels’ as an acronym forming the organization's core values. 

Large group of smiling people sitting on bleachers together.

Attitude - we respect each other and recognize our differences without judgment.

Network - we are pursuing opportunities to strengthen our relationships with similar organizations in the community to build each other up.

Give - we believe in giving back to our community.

Empower - we believe all people have their own unique abilities, we want to be the vessel that helps support and empower everyone.

Love - all people need and deserve to feel valued, safe, and included in the community.

Support - our foundation is to support each other; we do that by listening to each other's needs and desires and incorporating that into our daily life and activities.

 

The daily activities that are provided by KCS Angels are run solely by volunteers.  Others that volunteer with Tracy have found the experience fulfilling, like KCS Angel Big Al, who explains what KCS Angels feels like to him. "Family, because of all these people around me. I don't have a family up in Michigan, so when Tracy came along and told me about KCS Angels a couple years ago at the workshop I used to work at, I asked if I could join. I'm proud to be an Angel because of Tracy and this program."

And for others, the value of KCS Angels is much simpler. "I just like helping people," said Kristin, co-founder and peer of KCS Angels. "We come here to see our friends, we have a good time." 

The purpose and guiding principles of this organization are something CATA deeply empathizes with, which is why CATA has donated $2,500 dollars to KCS Angels so they can provide Spec-Tran services for the members of the organization. [Spec-Tran] is CATA’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit service for people unable to use CATA’s fixed-route system.

If you’re interested in learning more about KCS Angels or are interested in volunteering or donating, visit kcsangels.com to read more. If you’re also interested in finding out more about CATA’s services such as Spec-Tran and more, you can find it as well as service information, trip planning tools, and plenty more helpful service information at their website.

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7 Things to Do in Lansing this Winter

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Categories: Blog, Community

Lansing Capitol building with snow

One of the best ways to fight the winter blues? Explore local activities with family and friends! Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy Greater Lansing in the colder months:

1. Get up close to the biggest Christmas tree and ornaments in Lansing

People come from all over the state to see the 58-foot tree displayed in front of the Michigan Capitol building. It’s become a clear icon to the city, standing tall and proud. And for the first year ever, the state Christmas tree comes right from Lansing, thanks to two generous donors.

The red holiday ornaments are another crowd favorite. These giant picturesque sculptures are in the roundabout at Michigan Avenue and Washington Square, within walking distance from the Capitol. 

Save on parking and take the bus to these gorgeous decorations! Check out our trip planner to find the best route for you.

2. Experience the Wonderland of Lights at Potter Park Zoo.

Holiday lights, music, animal encounters and goodie bags make this event a real treat. Catch the Wonderland of Lights from Thursday through Sunday until Dec. 27.

Click here for details.

3. Support local artists at the REO Town Marketplace Holiday Bazaar.

Still have a few people on your holiday shopping list? The REO Town Marketplace presents a chance to shop for Michigan artisan-made goods. This fun new way to shop local is open now until December 24.

Click here to learn more.

Kids on tubes at the bottom of the snow hill

4. Hit the snow-covered slopes at Hawk Island.

As Hawk Island is less than a mile from CATA headquarters, this is one of our favorite wintertime activities. Bring your family, grab a few friends or go it alone on one of Hawk Island’s tube runs, ranging from 500-600 feet long. Then warm up at the snack bar with a cup of hot chocolate and s’mores.

Click here for snow tubing hours and pricing.

5. Challenge your inner learner at Impression 5 Science Center.

Impression 5 is an awesome place for kids of all ages to explore, learn and have fun! It was one of the first hands-on science museums in the country when it opened in 1972. Forty-eight years later, it remains a spot for the entire family to enjoy.

For hours and pricing, please visit impression5.org.

6. Shop small at the East Lansing Small Business Crawl.

Support local small businesses and earn points to win prizes during this year’s football-themed East Lansing Small Business Crawl! Players receive points by saving their receipts and submitting them on the Lansing Regional Chamber website. The more points earned, the more chances to win the grand prize of $1,000. The event is running from December 7-12. 

Learn more about the event here.

7. Treat yourself every Tuesday in Old Town Lansing.

Treat Tuesdays in Old Town are the perfect way to add some fun to your week. Each Tuesday, a different Old Town business will feature a “treat” which could be a sale, a giveaway, or other perks that make shopping local even greater. Treat Tuesdays will be going into 2021, so there are plenty of chances to explore local businesses in Old Town. 

See the full schedule for Treat Tuesdays here.

Brick Wall that says Love Lansing

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Collaboration Meets Innovation to Create a New CATA Bus Stop

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Categories: Blog, Community, Employees

Collaboration and innovative ideas are part of what makes our team so special – especially when they’re least expected. 

Nick Zickefoose, a customer experience representative at CATA, saw a need in the community and set out to fulfill it. 

Using Teamwork and Customer Feedback to Turn an Idea into Reality

A CATA rider contacted Nick suggesting a new bus stop on Route 9 in front of Atlas Meds Pharmacy. “He told me about how a lot of elderly and disabled customers use that particular pharmacy, but they had to walk from the current Route 9 stops to get there – which isn’t always easy for someone depending on their situation,” Nick said. Before a new stop was in place, the walk to Atlas Meds Pharmacy was several blocks. 

“The addition of this stop made sense from a number of angles,” said Kai Christiansen, the CATA Service Planning and Scheduling Manager. 

Kai received an email from Nick with the new bus stop suggestion. “I didn’t want to just let [the] request go unheard as it sounded like it had the potential to help a lot of people,” Nick said. “I remembered being told early in my time at CATA about Kai Christiansen over in planning and he’s incredibly good with these sorts of things.”

CATA Customer Experience Representative Nick Zickefoose

 

Kai was pleasantly surprised when Nick reached out to him and immediately got to work. “The quality of the information which Nick provided to me made my work easy,” Kai said. He noted it was "clear and actionable, making this process very straightforward.”

How a New Bus Stop is Created

The creation of a new CATA bus stop involves communication with stakeholders and configuration to meet customer, property owner and municipal needs. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance is also important. 

Once the stop has been designed, the building can begin. A contractor is methodically chosen, geolocation is added and a stop number is assigned.

The process to create a new bus stop involves CATA’s planning, facilities and procurement departments. It wouldn’t be possible without a strong and passionate team.

“It is always rewarding to be able to help facilitate the needs of our customers and create transportation solutions that make sense,” Kai said. 

The new stop on Route 9 is now up and running on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in front of Atlas Meds Pharmacy.

CATA bus stop #6081 in front of Atlas Meds Pharmacy

CATA’s priority continues to be meeting the mobility needs of our region. This priority is made possible in part through our dynamic, collaborative workforce. 

To learn more about Nick Zickefoose and the collaborative efforts of his department, click here.

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