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20 2024

Transforming Lives with the Zero Fare Coalition

Transforming Lives with the Zero Fare Coalition

Posted by Seven Hills Foundation
Jun 20, 2024
Posted by Seven Hills Foundation
WRTA-2024Worcester Community Connections Coalition (WCCC) of YOU, Inc. is a parent and provider coalition that works to address gaps in local resources and strengthen at-risk families. In 2019, the WCCC helped to formally convene the Worcester Zero Fare Coalition and has since remained dedicated to ensuring its operational success. Working alongside parents, residents, advocates, providers, and municipal leaders, the Worcester Zero Fair Coalition has been successful in moving the WRTA toward a permanent fare-free system to better serve our most marginalized residents. Due to the persistent advocacy and organizing work of the Coalition, the fare-free initiative for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority was extended for its fifth year. This will make it the longest-running free regional transportation service in the country.

YOU, Inc. was the recent recipient of a $15,000 grant from the Barr Foundation, in support of our work within the Worcester Zero Fare Coalition. The Barr Foundation’s continued support has helped to address significant barriers to transportation for at-risk families – which in turn increases their access to vital healthcare, educational, and safety net services.
YOU, Inc. is a leading behavioral health and education agency serving at-risk children, adolescents, and families across Worcester County since 1972. For nearly 50 years, we have committed to our founding mission – to provide youth and families with opportunities to fulfill their potential and build a brighter future. Our mission to support healthy outcomes and bright futures for youth and families includes a commitment to comprehensive education and employment services.
YOU, Inc. serves as the fiscal agent for two DCF-funded Community Connections Coalitions, one located in Worcester and one in Southbridge. The intent of a Community Connections Coalition (CCC) is to develop and sustain a community infrastructure that mobilizes and aligns effective, collective responses to the identified needs of families, intending to prevent child abuse and neglect. Four core coalition functions are identified as essential to the work of CCCs: family support services, family preservation services, and adoption promotion and support services. The Community Connection Coalitions in Worcester and Southbridge provide a safe and neutral setting for residents and service providers, including DCF, to communicate, make decisions, share resources, and coordinate action planning
The Zero Fare Worcester Coalition is a group of grassroots activists, bus riders, local agencies, elected officials, and community leaders united in their mission to make the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) permanently fare-free. Endorsed by 77 community, municipal, elected, and business leaders, including the Worcester City Council, Southbridge Town Council, Worcester Chamber of Commerce, SEIU 509, Imperial Distributors, and major regional employers, our coalition represents a diverse range of voices committed to equitable transportation.
Through their efforts, the WCCC and its partners have created a ripple effect of positive change within the community. By eliminating fare barriers, the Zero Fare Coalition is not just addressing a transportation issue; it is promoting social equity, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. This initiative demonstrates the power of community collaboration and the impact of targeted advocacy. The continued support from the Barr Foundation underscores the importance and effectiveness of the coalition's mission. As the WCCC and the Zero Fare Worcester Coalition move forward, their work serves as a model for other communities striving to create more equitable and accessible public transit systems. We believe that every student can succeed, and our programs support promising young people to complete high school and advance to higher education or vocational training that leads to self-sustaining employment.

Media Inquiries

Bill Stock
Vice President for Government and Community Relations 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1305
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: bstock@sevenhills.org
Kathleen A. Myshrall
Vice President of Advancement 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1302
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: kmyshrall@sevenhills.org
Jennifer Wentworth
Director of Communications 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1304
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: jwentworth@sevenhills.org