GLM Travel Trainers’ Prospective Blog

Life as an Intern: From Trainee to Trainer

By Jenni Naia, MSW Intern, California State University Northridge, Travel Training

black hoodieAs a Social Work student, having the opportunity to experience the real life culture of public transportation is something I will always cherish. Before being accepted as an intern for Green Light to Mobility, I had never used the METRO system as a form of transportation. Subways and Trains were things I only experienced in movies and television shows, never really thinking that it was something real that individuals were dependent on. As a brand new intern in the Greenlight to Mobility program, Cameron Lee, my field instructor and the program manager for travel training, wanted me to experience travel training first hand, as a trainee. Since I had no idea how to use public transportation, he partnered me with a travel trainer and sent me off to find my way from New Horizons to Hollywood and Highland.

Stepping on bus 734 changed everything. I was initially overwhelmed by the volume of people crowded together throughout the aisle with hardly anywhere to stand, but with the confidence of the travel trainer at my side, I found a place to stand and railing to hold on to as we made our way down Sepulveda Boulevard. The diverse population on the bus was overpowering. Everywhere around me people of different races, cultures, and nationalities stood utilizing public transportation to get to work, the store, school, or the gym. It was refreshing to observe how everyone was interacting with one another, discussing the weather or talking about the Dodgers next series. From the bus we hopped on the Orange line, taking it all the way to the end, and made our way down to the stairs and jumped onto the Subway, also called the Red line, before we made it to our destination.

Jenni_BusThroughout our transfers my travel trainer took the GLM’s teach, not instruct philosophy, making me read maps and lead the way in order to become confident in taking the system myself. He was always there for support when I needed it, but he never instructed me when to get on or off a certain stop, giving me the opportunity to succeed independently. After experiencing travel training as a trainee, throughout my internship I was given the opportunity to experience travel training as a trainer. Since I understood first-hand what things were helpful while teaching others how to ride, I empowered the individuals I trained to be confident, review maps, and problem solve their way to their destination, and always being there by their side for support when needed.

I believe travel training empowers independence in individuals. It gives people confidence, pride, and the power to be self-sufficient. I valued every second of my time at New Horizons, and I know that when I earn my MSW degree in Spring 2015, I will carry the mission, vision, and values of New Horizons and Greenlight to Mobility program with me wherever I go.

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