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What It's All About

Friday, January 3, 2020

Categories: Blog, Community, Employees

Colorful christmas thank you noteLast month, CATA employees fulfilled Christmas wishes for 37 children and their families as part of the Operation Santa program.

Now our Christmas decor is in storage, the radio stations are done playing “Jingle Bells”, and we've traded in our ugly Christmas sweaters for daily business attire. But the spirit of giving lives on.

The children and families we helped through Operation Santa gifted us their kind words, drawings and gratitude. We received thank you cards from many of them, which are proudly displayed at our headquarters.

We appreciate their sweet gesture, and we’re grateful to all the people who’ve cultivated Operation Santa into a Red card that says Merry Christmas with a candy caneCATA tradition.

Thank you to our employees, friends and families who make this program a success year after year. As our Marketing Manager Pam Latka said, “It’s fun to think that we are keeping these kids’ Christmas dreams alive.”

That’s what it’s all about.

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Welcome to 2020: A new year of opportunity

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Categories: Blog, Community, Employees

[A CATA Nova bus leaving the garage]

It’s a new year, full of new opportunities to serve our riders and the community.

As we begin this new year -- and new decade -- we want to continue to connect, learn and grow with all of you. With expanding features like USB charging ports on our Nova buses and solar lights at bus stops, we are always striving for improvement. These improvements are made possible through community partnerships and constructive feedback. 

Our partnership with the Capital Area District Libraries could bring Wi-Fi to some of our buses. Our service agreement with Michigan State University will keep on-campus bus services free for years to come.

This year, we will continue using our digital channels as a way for riders to see beyond the busses and buildings of CATA. We are a fleet of strong, driven and inspired people who love this city and all those we serve. 

We want you to meet Craig Frazier and our paratransit department, who are asking “What if?” to open dialogue on how to serve clients better. We want you to hear Ron DeLeon’s story on what it means to serve CATA for 21 years and counting as a bus driver.  

With mindsets and employees like these, the future of CATA is shining brightly. But it can only shine with strong community relationships. So how might we get to know each other better?

Let’s start with a tour. Meet some of the faces and places behind the scenes at CATA.

Since this video was made, we were fortunate to surpass 11 million rides for 2019. Thank you for working with us to make the future of Greater Lansing public transit as promising as ever.

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Holiday Missions and Traditions

Monday, December 23, 2019

Categories: Blog, Community

Photo of lots of presents under the tree

  • Bicycles for the family
  • A skateboard
  • Dress-up clothes
  • A winter jacketWoman in all black holding up a small minnie mouse costume

No matter the wish, CATA works hard every year to make it happen through the Operation Santa program. Over the years, the program has allowed CATA to team up with a local elementary school and provide Christmas gifts to hundreds of families in need.

“I love being able to give back to our community in such a special way,” says Pam Latka, CATA Marketing Manager. “I also love what it does for our employees. It gives everyone a chance to meet people within the organization, and involve their families in their community. It’s a good thing for us to do.”

Pam facilitates the Operation Santa program within CATA in creative ways, including a  year-long can drive that raises hundreds of dollars. Every November, she distributes over 100 gift wish tags to three Christmas trees within CATA facilities. Employees take as many tags as they are able, and purchase gifts for local families.

Presents are sorted and delivered to the elementary school, along with Scotch tape, bows and wrapping paper.  “We give them to the parents so they can wrap the gifts and give them to their children on Christmas,” says Pam.

Photo of bicycles in front of a treeOperation Santa has a special way of unifying employees toward a greater goal. A team of three maintenance workers adopted an entire tree full of wishes. Matt Oudsema, CATA’s Director of Planning and Development, has made it a family tradition to deliver the gifts with his wife and daughter. 

CATA has taken part in Operation Santa for the last 18 years, adopting 37 children in 2019, and 892 since the launch of the program in 2002. Employees have gifted everything from homemade teddy bears and crocheted blankets to bikes, remote control cars and train sets. 

“We often receive thank you notes from some of the kids or their family members,” Pam says. “Sometimes they will be addressed to Santa, so it’s fun to think that we are keeping these kids' Christmas dreams alive.”

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