Lashonda Copeland is the lead “Walking School Bus” driver at Mort Elementary. She is a mother of four, and two of her children attend school at Mort. Lashonda and her co-leader Lou Anne Charles lead 22 children to school and back each day with the help of two other volunteers. On March 29, 2016 Lashonda was interviewed by Journalist Roberto Roldan for WUSF radio about her participation in the Walking School Bus program.
“It was something my son wanted me to do,” Copeland said. Though Copeland and Charles work together to lead their bus, there is a waiting list of children who want to participate in the program, and they don’t have enough help. In her request for volunteers, Copeland emphasized the importance of community and safety that is fostered by the Walking School Bus program: “The best thing we can do is show these kids that they have hope. They have people they can talk to and run to. We want a safe, healthy community for our children.”
To Copeland, the Walking School Bus and the community at Mort Elementary are more than what they seem. “We’re family. I tell my kids everyday: this is not just the Walking School Bus and we are not just people who walk to school. We are a Family. We stick together and we defend each other. That’s what we do.” Another reason Copeland loves to volunteer is the tremendous amount of support she and other parents and children get from the teachers at Mort. “The teachers at Mort are terrific. We work as a team. It’s not just a school. I walk in that door and they know my name: ‘Do you need something to drink? Are you hungry? Are you okay? Do you need to talk?’ That’s not just a school. That’s a family.”
And Copeland hopes to see her family grow. “We need volunteers. If you love children, we can use all the adults we can get to help us make sure these kids get a good education and are safe coming to and from school.”
Click here to volunteer for the Walking School Bus today.