Get on the Bus began in 2000 to respond to an unmet need for free transportation, so that children could be united with their parents in prison. Today, Get on the Bus provides children and their caregivers with pre-trip assistance, including: prison visitation requirements, transportation, meals, travel bags, a family photograph, special activities with their parent inside, dinner, and opportunities for counseling. Due to distance and distressed circumstances, this visit is often the only time most of the children will see their parents during the year.In 2015,
Get on the Bus facilitated the clearances of more than 3,000 individuals to visit mothers and fathers, filled 50 buses with approximately 1,500 children and their caregivers, and visited 11 prisons. Get on the Bus springs from the philosophical and practical aspects of the Restorative Justice movement, which works toward shifting the focus of the criminal justice system from punishment to healing.For several years, St. Ignatius has been a bus sponsor of Get on the Bus, providing financial support and volunteers. In the first years, a team of parishioners did family interviews and helped with visitation paperwork, as well as organized and supplied a bus trip from Northern California to the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo and then to Soledad State Prison.
Since 2013, parishioners have staffed the visiting rooms at San Quentin for the prison’s Get on the Bus Day where inmates, including some on Death Row, spent the day with their children, who traveled with their caregivers from as far away as San Bernardino and San Diego.
Volunteer opportunities include:
• Staffing, as needed, the visiting rooms on Get on the Bus Day
• Helping prepare and serve the breakfast served at St. Sebastian’s Church in Larkspur to bus travelers before the San Quentin visit
• Helping to raise parish awareness of the needs of children with incarcerated parents and to raise financial support for Get on the Bus
• Working on a special Get on the Bus project in honor of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day; volunteers are needed to design an event flyer and the card donors will share with incarcerated parents
• Staffing a table after Masses on the Sundays before Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, where donors can pick up their cards and/or send cards to recipients
• Tracking Get on the Bus donations
Contact: Ana Gonzalez-Laneana@getonthe bus.us
Links to additional information: http://www.crjw.us/get-on-the-bus/