Schools, non-profits eager for sbX service

Robert Hagen, Director of Volunteer Services with Santa Claus, Inc. of Greater San Bernardino, also is a teacher with the WORC Academy, a partnership between San Bernardino Valley College and the San Bernardino City Unified School District, providing basic skills to help high school grads enter the workforce.

Robert Hagen arrives early Wednesday morning at Santa Claus Inc. of Greater San Bernardino, a non-profit charity providing clothes, books and toys for needy children, where he volunteers as Director of Volunteer Services.

Hagen – also a teacher at the WORC Academy (Working on Real Careers) at Valley College – knows his students will arrive for their assignments at the charity on 6th Street about a mile east of Waterman Avenue. He’s just not sure when.

“If it weren’t for Omnitrans, I don’t know how they would get around,” Hagen said. “They’re looking forward to the rapid-transit service.”

This semester, Hagen works with 12 students who have graduated from high school but are challenged in reading, writing and math. The WORC program, a partnership between Valley College and the San Bernardino City Unified School District, allows them to develop skills that make them hirable to do many of the basic tasks they learn as volunteers.

Most of his students live in the Highland area and public transit is the only transportation they have to get from there to the college on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. They also rely on bus service to get to the non-profit programs – usually on Wednesdays and Fridays – such as Santa Claus Inc., on 6th Street about a mile east of Waterman Avenue; and the San Bernardino Humane Society, near E Street and Orange Show Road.

“My students can walk from Valley College to the Humane Society in less time than it takes to ride the bus,” Hagen said. “There are many organizations they could work for up and down Route 2 but it takes more than an hour to get from the VA to Cal State (San Bernardino). That’s why we’re so excited about this sbX line. It will sure make it easier for them to get around.”

– David Rutherford

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