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LATS helps young with disabilities spread their wings

Lawton_Young people with disabilities are not often exposed to positive opportunities, particularly getting out and about on their own.  OK-TEEM has introduced a group of young adults with disabilities to the Lawton Area Transit System (LATS).  It's a mentorship program for young people with disabilities with the goal of educating them on job opportunities. 

Just like people who aren't disabled, people with disabilities need transportation to get around, and according to OK-TEEM, the lack of transportation is the number one barrier to young people with disabilities.  On Wednesday, a LATS guide gave a tour to a group of young adults, and armed them with the tools they need to know to hop on the bus to discover new opportunities. 

Pauline Garret with LATS gave the students instructions on how to get around on the bus system.  Once each of them got an idea of what to expect, it was time to take a ride.  John Presley, an OK-TEEM member took his first ride ever.  He says jumping on the bus is going to be very helpful in getting him to and from his job every day. 

LATS offers a 50% discount to those with disabilities.  All they have to do is flash their ID card, and they're on their way.  An OK-TEEM representatives says the lack of transportation is the number one obstacle for the success of those with disabilities.  "LATS help them reach their goals for meaningful employment....it eliminates the obstacles."  She hopes a quick bus ride will open their eyes to opportunities they can now reach.  "One more thing to empower - explore opportunities.  That's our hope," she says.

Garret says LATS caters to the elderly and to those with special needs so riders like Presley can look beyond their disabilities.  "More opportunities to be independent, to get around for work or pleasure," she says.  LATS says its drivers are specially trained to assist those with disabilities or special needs, and it's exactly what OK-TEEM members will need travelling on their road to success.

If you would like to be a mentor for any of these young people, call OK-TEEM at 580-355-3802.

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