The History of Ride-On Transportation
The History of UCP of San Luis Obispo County and Ride-On Transportation
Ride-On Transportation is a part of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of San Luis Obispo County - a San Luis Obispo, California based non-profit that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. How Ride-On Transportation formed from UCP is a very interesting and unique story.
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) came into our county in the fall of 1985 to look for a facilitator for several self-advocacy groups in response to a grant. Self-advocacy groups are made up of people with disabilities who utilize a board format to work on issues in their lives. The coordinator for UCP of Santa Barbara recruited Mark Shaffer to become the facilitator for two self-advocacy groups. Mark learned a great deal from these groups, including the concerns of the people the system was serving. The primary need which the group began working on was the lack of transportation in the evenings and weekends. Members of the group spoke at the annual unmet transportation hearings for two years to increase the operating hours of the Runabout System. The government officials increased the funding levels for the system, but the hours of operation did not meet the needs of people with disabilities.
In 1987, Mark Shaffer developed the concept of a Community Interaction Program (CIP) to help increase access into the community during the evenings and weekends. Tri-Counties Regional Center refused to fund the program. Mark set up a leasing agreement with Friendship School to use their vehicles and drivers in the evenings and weekends to get the service going. UCP offered to provide canisters to be placed at stores to raise funds for the service. The self-advocates asked the government officials to provide $3,000 to match the $3,000 the CIP Program would raise through the canister programs. In the summer of 1988, UCP began operating the CIP Program out of Mark's home. To promote the services, the CIP newsletter became a monthly bulletin in the fall of 1988. In 1989, the Leisure Club began monthly meetings at a Friendship School Program. The Summer of 1990, UCP-CIP began Camp Kelley Creek at the San Marcos Baptist Camp near Lake Cachuma.
In the spring of 1991, Friendship School became concerned about the liability of their In-Home Respite Care program. Mark met with their director, David Singleton and representatives from Tri-Counties Regional Center to arrange a transfer of the service to United Cerebral Palsy. In March, UCP opened a small office on Pacific Street, with a Program Coordinator and a Respite Coordinator. In the spring of 1991, CIP began the CIP Tour Program with a camping trip to Yosemite. In June of 1992, the UCP office moved into the Old French Hospital at 1160 Marsh, Suite 102 in San Luis Obispo.
In the Spring of 1988, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) designated UCP as the Consolidated Transportation Service Agency (CTSA) to set up funding for the CIP service. The SLOCOG funded a study to look at increasing the coordination of social service transportation. In the spring of 1992, SLOCOG staff approached UCP to develop a larger CTSA effort. UCP worked with Friendship School and Mesa Dolores Home to begin the Ride-On (CTSA) services in January of 1993. At the same time that Ride-On began its operations, the Regional Rideshare Program approached Ride-On with the concept of serving the general public through the formation of a Transportation Management Association (TMA). UCP had planned to develop a more integrated service for people with disabilities. Caltrans sponsored a feasibility study to explore the possibility of Ride-On becoming a county-wide TMA. UCP used the funding from the feasibility study to establish the third component of the UCP program, the TMA. The TMA’s goal was to use Ride-On’s vehicles to encourage group transportation to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
In October of 1994, United Cerebral Palsy of San Luis Obispo County became an independent affiliate with it’s own Board of Directors. The programs supporting children with disabilities began to expand as UCP listened to the needs of parents. These programs include: Respitality, Parents’ Day Off, Sibling Support Groups, Social Facilitation, Summer Camp Support, and the Family Advocacy Network. In the Fall of 1995, the nonprofit organization, Parents Helping Parents, approached UCP to request their merging with our organization. Parents Helping Parents provides support for children under four years of age and their families. The merger was approved by the State of California in 1996. In 1996, a group approached UCP for support for the development of a child life program to help reduce stress for children receiving medical treatment. This program is now established as the HOPE (Hospital and Outpatient Education) Program.
In 2001, UCP teamed up with a group of parents and professions to establish the Inclusive Child Care Options (ICCO) Program. This group offers assistance with child care referrals, training, on-site support, and acquisition of specialized equipment. That same year, UCP developed Camp Hope to provide support for children with disabilities to participate in regular summer camps and after-school recreation programs. UCP continues to respond to the needs expressed by the community to assist adults and children with disabilities to be a part of their community.
In June of 2002, UCP and Ride-On moved to their new location at 3620 Sacramento Drive in San Luis Obispo. They have become the supervising agency for the Central Coast Assistive Technology Center and the People First Advocacy Group. UCP has become the hosting agency for the SLO Abilities Fair that displays equipment and services that improve the abilities of people with disabilities and seniors. Ride-On continues to increase their transportation services with the Senior Shuttle and the Veterans’ Express. Last year, Ride-On provided over 268,000 rides within San Luis Obispo County.
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