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SOLVING SCHOOL PICK-UP AND DROP-OFF WITH SAN ANTONIO FAMILY TRANSPORT

Updated: Jul 3

SA CHARTER MOMS Feature, May 21, 2024

We are proud to share this guest post by Karen Gibson, founder of San Antonio Family Transport, offering solutions for families to transport their children to and from charter schools, summer camps, and more.

San Antonio Family Transport was founded with sincere compassion for overwhelmed families. We support busy families who need some extra help getting their kids from A to Z. As parents, we know that our days can be very hectic. From rushing clear across town and back home again, to heading back out into traffic for after-school activities . . . whatever your daily travels consist of, we make sure your children arrive safe and on time.

THE STORY BEHIND SA FAMILY TRANSPORT

I’m Karen Gibson, the Mom-Owner and Founder of SA Family Transport. I’m a South Texas native, with over 10 years combined experience in childcare, education, and transportation, along with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. While living in traffic-jammed Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Texas for 20 years, I vividly remember the chaotic schedule of trying to get my two young children—who are now young adults and taller than me—safely to and from school and various after-school activities, as a single mom. Without any nearby relatives or friends to help me, I felt immense stress and pressure working in the corporate world while trying to provide normalcy for my two kiddos. After years of financial and emotional strain trying to transport my children to and from school each morning and afternoon, a huge weight was lifted when I discovered and hired a student transportation company during the last two years of living in DFW.

When I moved to San Antonio for a Human Resource Director job, I was shocked to realize there weren’t any student transportation companies in a city the size of San Antonio. I was determined not to endure the same morning and afternoon stress I experienced in DFW, so I made sure to live as close to my job and my teenager’s school as possible. Then, COVID happened and my work and living dynamics changed once again—uggh. I found myself working 45 minutes away from home and worrying about my teenage daughter walking 20 minutes home from school each day . . . not okay! I decided it was time to develop a plan, step away from working for others in various corporate, non-profit, and private jobs, and step up to fill in the gaps for active, working families, who have a zillion and one more things on their To-Do list than trying to get their kids to school, all before their own work day begins.

I’m super thankful to God and proud to say that I opened SA Family Transport at the start of the 2023–2024 school year. In just nine short months, we have grown tremendously and currently serve 18 schools. We transport students ages 4–18 years old to and from charter, private, and traditional public schools, as well as camps and after-school activities. Our customers include parents, single parents, grandparents, site coordinators, and various organizations that serve children in the San Antonio community.

CONSISTENCY, RELIABILITY, COMMUNICATION, AND QUALITY

We know how important it is for your child’s journey to not only be safe, but also worry-free and enjoyable. It’s very important to me that these children are treated the way I would want my own children to be treated. We take our job very seriously. We hold our drivers to high standards. Each driver has to pass criminal and sex offender background checks, be First Aid and CPR certified, have a background in education or childcare (or at least have their own children), and have a good driving record—including passing a driver’s test during the interview, since we all know that just because someone has a driver’s license doesn’t mean they don’t have road rage or ride the bumper of the driver in front of them . . . in all seriousness, these are our children! Furthermore, each van includes a camera that records inside and outside of the vans for the safety of the children, the driver, and our business. When we drop off children at home or at school, we don’t just drive off once they leave the van—we make sure they’re safely inside the house or school and that each family receives direct messaging of their safe arrival.

STUDENT BIRTHDAYS ARE SPECIAL

To ensure that all of our students feel special, we celebrate each student’s birthday with their favorite cookie or cupcake. We dedicate that entire day to the birthday student by singing “Happy Birthday” during ALL transports within that route, throughout the day. This celebration has quickly became a tradition that all of the students greatly anticipate.

SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

For some families, our service is just a ride to and from school, but for others it’s much more than just that. There are tons of students at charter and public schools who are not making it to school at all because their parents are forced to make an impossible choice: whether to take their children to school that day and be late or miss work altogether, or leave their children at home and go to work, in order to pay their bills and buy groceries.

This is just a summary of the problems surrounding this type of situation. There are so many dynamics involved in simply trying to get your kiddos to and from school. Trying to fit in and piece together the time and short cuts through traffic to pick up and drop off kids between school schedules and work shifts—whether that’s hourly or salary shifts—is like putting together a 333 piece puzzle with 111 sky and landscape puzzle pieces, and doing it again each day. Not to mention getting tired kids dressed and fed, gathering homework assignments, lunches and bags packed, out the door, then remembering that one homework assignment or school project for each kiddo, not just one day of the week, but every day of the week. I could go on and on about the possible snowball effect, but I’ll stop here.

Then there’s bullying. When students are late or miss school for days or weeks at a time, they may suffer lasting and damaging psychological effects as a result of bullying and shame for not showing up to school. That’s on top of robbing these kids of the education and opportunities they deserve.

NO TRANSPORT = NO MEAL

For many families, when their kids don’t make it to school, their kids don’t eat. At some level we know this, but many of us don’t realize how many children are actually suffering from food insecurity. I often hear from students who are not actually happy about Fridays and the upcoming weekend because they know they won’t have enough to eat.

According to SA Forward, “Approximately 14% of Bexar County residents are food insecure, and the child food insecurity rate is even higher, affecting 1 in 5 children in Bexar County.” For many, it’s more than just trying to figure out how to get kids to school and on-time. Parents know their kids will go hungry if they don’t go to school. If they do get them to school, they risk being late to work or missing work and losing their jobs. If they lose their jobs, they won’t be able to buy food, pay bills, or provide for their families.

You may be wondering how these families afford student transportation if they can’t afford to buy food. They prioritize it. Their children have to make it to school . . . end of story. Additionally, SA Family Transport is in the process of becoming a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Once we have access to grant funding, we will be able to offer sliding scale payment options and use philanthropy to cover transportation fees for lower income families. Sometimes it really does take a village . . .we are dedicated to growth and helping the future generations of the San Antonio community.

SA FAMILY TRANSPORT FOR YOUR BUSY LIFE

Life is busy, but San Antonio Family Transport can find a custom solution to fit your family’s needs. Our heart is to assure that affordable transportation is made available for every unique family and their individual needs. God has placed this business in my heart with the people and communities in whom we serve for His purposes to keep working parents working, with the peace of mind that their priceless heart treasures are not just watched after and transferred from place to place, but cared for, listened to, and transported with love.

If you find your family scrambling to get here and there and everywhere, reach out and let SA Family Transport help transport your family safely. Give us a call at 210-864-1777 or email us at info@safamilytransport.com. You can also contact us through our contact form on our website. Check out our Google reviews and follow us on Facebook.



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