When great minds come together, excellent things happen! The Feonix Team had an inspiring three days, working hard, generating new ideas, laughing, planning for the next year, and setting goals for the next three years!
The 2020 Strategic Planning Session included an assessment of where we are and where we want to be, some dynamic training presented by one of our very own talented leaders, and individual presentations on quarterly goals. The team also came together for laughter-inducing board games and core-strengthening axe throwing.
We are so excited to see this work to fruition and make mobility for all a reality!
"As a society, creating the lifeblood of mobility for today and tomorrow means access to opportunity for employment, healthcare, education and basic necessities for those most in need for public transportation."
The February 2020 Edition of the ITE Journal features an article co-authored by Feonix Executive Director, Valerie Lefler, and Feonix Board Members, Shawn Leight and Teresa Wilke, on "Making MaaS/MOD Accessible in 2020 and Beyond".
This article encourages taking a human-centered and community-minded approach in all stages of the transportation planning framework. To learn more about what it will take and why it is important to change transportation ecosystems, read the full article.
On a cold fall morning in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Feonix and the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living (AACIL) provided disability awareness training for a group of 15 engineers, project managers, and transportation planners invested in accessible autonomous vehicle technology. This education challenged them to consider how their jobs and their technology supports and impacts those around them inclusively.
Our Disability Awareness Training for Transportation Agencies (DATTA) was attended by May Mobility, Mobile GR, Start Garden, and Faurecia personnel working for the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative. DATTA was one element of a day-long Accessibility Workshop, organized by May Mobility. The workshop also included a roundtable discussion amongst the designers of May Mobility’s accessible shuttle prototype and wheelchair users followed by demonstration rides with Disability Advocates of Kent County (DAKC).
Feonix’s Mobility Innovation Manager, Rachel Kosla, and the AACIL’s Will Purves, adapted the training curriculum so that it included educational activities using May Mobility’s wheelchair accessible AV prototype. This change enhanced the experience by making the training more immersive and relevant to all of the participants working day-in and day-out to develop the prototype and deploy it in the community. When asked what they might do differently now that they’ve completed the training, one program manager said they’ll, “Make changes to how we operate daily and be an advocate for longer structural changes within our technology.”
May Mobility’s Customer Success Manager, Alyssa Jernigan, said the training, “helped our partners and our site teams better understand different types of disabilities, which, in turn, will help us achieve better products and services for our deployment in Grand Rapids, as well as training for other sites.”
Feonix is honored to work with May Mobility and is excited to see their commitment to advance accessible transportation and the actions they’re undertaking to include the disability community in their efforts. We look forward to future collaborations with May Mobility leadership in the years to come.
A new-found sense of independence and potential is something Feonix - Mobility Rising gives to communities it serves, and this organization also gives both of those to me. I joined the Feonix team a year ago, and I came into this position with multiple years of customer service experience in different positions, but none gave me the opportunity to make the type of impact that this organization has. The personal connections that I get to make on the phone with our passengers is one of my favorite things about my day in the office.
I will never forget the first time I was able to hear from one of our passengers about the positive impact our service was making in her life. It was a truly emotional and moving experience. The passenger had called for a ride a few weeks earlier, during one of the hardest points in her life. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and Feonix was there to provide transportation arrangements for all of her oncology appointments and treatment sessions. Not only was she able to make it to her doctor, but she was able to attend social events and do daily activities to lift her spirits. Then, there was a turning point in her recovery that I’m blessed to have been a part of. This time, she was calling for a ride, but she wasn’t going to the oncologist. In fact, she was in remission.
Hearing our passenger’s stories, both the good and the bad, makes me reflect on my own story. This position has pushed me to grow so much in not only my work but in my personal life. If you would have told me five years ago today that I would be lucky enough to be in the position I am now, I would have never believed you. Five years ago was a very low point when I felt like I was in a hole I’d never be able to dig out of. Then, I found out I was going to be gifted with being a mother to my perfect little boy. Although being a single parent has been one of the most difficult things I’ve had to conquer, it has been by far the best and most rewarding thing too. I’ve been lucky enough to have multiple families to get me here, both biological and chosen, including my co-workers at Feonix. They all push me every day to be the best version of myself and to never stop improving.
2020 will be my second year taking calls that change lives with this organization, my fifth year being a mom to my son, the third year with the amazing man that came into my life, and one of the most exciting years yet. I look forward to going back to school for the first time in seven years to continue my professional development and better serve our mission. I’m excited to keep sharing these experiences and making a difference for people who truly deserve it through Feonix - Mobility Rising.
The AARP Ride@50+℠ Program Newsletter is full of exciting articles. Have you gotten a chance to check it out?
In this issue, you can read about the new program initiatives, app functionality, and who the program is supporting. Give it a read today!
Watch a video about how Carolyn moved to Columbia and now uses the AARP Ride@50+℠ Program to experience independence again after recovering from a serious stroke.
One of the resources Feonix uses to fill transportation gaps in the communities we serve is volunteer drivers. These drivers are invaluable to providing low-cost transportation options to the individuals and communities we serve. This winter we launched our Freedom Driver Program bringing all current and future volunteer initiatives from across the country under one umbrella.
Watch Natshea's video below to see what being a Freedom Driver is all about.
This Thursday, February 27th, Feonix's Executive Director, Valerie Lefler will be speaking on a panel in Kansas City focused on opportunities to grow the mobility sector within both Missouri and Kansas.
"Mobility on Demand (MOD) is a vision for an integrated network of safe, carefree, and reliable transportation options that are available to all."
ITS America’s Mobility on Demand (MOD) Alliance and ITS Heartland are hosting the first in a series of forums in the midwest, where they will be showcasing successes and tackling some of the key issues facing MOD’s rapid transformation of how we move. During the forum the goals are to:
To learn more about the event, visit: https://bit.ly/3ccgwHF