Community Transit grants 12 surplus vehicles to local non-profit groups through the Van GO program

Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz, top right, gives a virtual presentation of a VanGO van at the Foundation for Edmonds School District. The van will be used by students of the foundation-sponsored Work Experience and Assessment Program, which provides vocational assessment and work experience opportunities for high school students with disabilities.

Community Transit awarded 12 surplus vans to local nonprofits at its board meeting last week. These groups will use the vehicles to provide transportation support for people throughout Snohomish County.

The Van GO program affects vans or retired paratransit vehicles from community transit that are otherwise auctioned off. The vans awarded this year will connect Snohomish County residents to legal services, allow children to attend youth meetings and visit incarcerated parents, and help people with shopping and seeing a doctor, among other things. uses.

“The Van GO program helps community organizations with critical transportation needs,” said Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz. “By extending the life of these vehicles, this partnership extends the reach of nonprofit groups serving people with diverse needs.”

This year, 42 non-profit groups submitted nominations. The recipients were chosen based on how they propose to use the vehicles to serve their communities.

This year’s 12 Van GO recipients are:

  • Bethesda Lutheran Church (Mountlake Terrace)
  • Evergreen Recovery Centers – LEAD Program (Everett)
  • Baptist Church of the Faith (Arlington)
  • The Edmonds School District Foundation (Edmonds)
  • Granite Falls Community Coalition (Granite Falls)
  • Place des Arts de Mari (Everett)
  • Merciful Watch (Mukilteo)
  • Peoria House (Everett)
  • Project Girl Mentorship Program (Lynnwood)
  • Stilly Valley Youth Dynamics (Arlington, Stanwood, Oso)
  • Take the next step (Monroe)
  • Church of the Vision (Everett)

Community Transit launched the Van GO program in 2000 and awarded 170 vans and paratransit vehicles equipped with a wheelchair lift to qualified 501 (c) 3 organizations. These organizations primarily serve residents of the transit service area throughout Snohomish County. This includes the incorporated towns and villages of Snohomish County, as well as the Tulalip Preserve and parts of unincorporated Snohomish County. The Van GO concept has been duplicated by transit agencies in Washington State and across the country.

More information on the Van GO program is online

Van GO 2021 recipients attended the Community Transportation Board meeting on January 3 to officially receive their award (see video at Here is a brief description of the winning organizations:

Bethesda Lutheran Church

Bethesda Lutheran Church is committed to inclusiveness, diversity and equity. He currently partners with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, including the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program, the American Legion, and the Westway Korean Church. The Bethesda Lutheran Church will use the Van GO vehicle to transport the elderly to medical appointments, transport the homeless and those in crisis to resources and shelters, provide transport for Girl Scout meetings and activities , including transporting girls to visit incarcerated parents, meet the transportation needs of neighboring interfaith communities, and provide transportation to veterans while working with the American Legion.

Evergreen Recovery Centers – LEAD Program

Evergreen Recovery Centers operates the Snohomish County Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. This program is designed to divert those suspected of low-level criminal offenses from prison and prosecution to case management, legal coordination and other support services. Evergreen Recovery Centers will use the Van GO vehicle to transport clients to medical and behavioral appointments, employer services, short and long term housing, vaccinations and COVID tests, and other necessary travel to help their clients establish stability in their lives.

Baptist Church of the Faith

Faith Baptist Church, located in Arlington, provides free child care services to low income families in northern Snohomish County during the work week. Faith Baptist Church will use her Van GO vehicle to provide transportation to and from the daycare during the week, transport volunteers and goods to provide food deliveries to the community, and provide Sunday transportation to church for members elderly and disabled.

The Edmonds School District Foundation

The Edmonds School District Foundation operates the Work Experience and Assessment Program which provides vocational assessment and work experience opportunities for high school students with disabilities. Many of these students will depend on public transport in the future, which is why the foundation also offers training in public transport by helping students practice taking the bus to their appointments. and outings in the community. The Edmonds School District Foundation will use its Van GO vehicle by providing transportation support for students who take the bus as well as transportation for students to construction sites, educational tours of libraries and civic centers, races and community service work.

Granite Falls Community Coalition

The Granite Falls Community Coalition currently operates a busy food bank with two distribution sites, a backpack program for food insecure children, and provides prevention education to families and community members regarding addiction, equity, mental health and well-being. The Granite Falls Community Coalition will use its Van GO vehicle, providing transportation for clients to and from weekly food bank services, transporting students to Coalition-sponsored morning and afternoon activities on non-working days. schools, offering summer excursions for recreational activities and transporting volunteers to contact students who ask for help after school hours and on weekends.

Place des arts de Mari

Mari’s Place for the Arts provides a safe and supportive environment for young people to explore and develop their capacities in a variety of arts programs. Serving primarily Black, Indigenous, Colored (BIPOC) and disabled youth from low-income Snohomish County families, Mari’s Place for the Arts enriches children’s lives by providing them with the opportunity to express themselves through painting. , writing, dancing, drawing, and playing musical instruments. Mari’s Place will use its Van GO vehicle to transport students to and from weekday classes and their summer program, as well as transportation staff to daycares, dance halls and community centers to deliver classes.

Show mercy

Mercy Watch provides basic street medical care, emotional and spiritual support, and necessary supplies to homeless men, women and children living in Snohomish County. Mercy Watch operates an approved free medical clinic and partners with the WSU medical residency program to provide healthcare opportunities for those living without shelter. Mercy Watch will use its Van GO vehicle to provide transportation to medical appointments, transport clients in need of more advanced care to walk-in clinics and emergency care, as well as transport medical volunteers to camps and homeless shelters to provide COVID vaccinations and medical treatment.

Home Peoria

Peoria Home supports women survivors of trafficking and drug addiction by offering two years of case management which includes rent-free accommodation, medical and mental support, life skills and vocational education support, vocational training and a job. Peoria Home will use its Van GO vehicle by providing residents with transportation to and from intensive ambulatory care programs, groceries, medical / dental appointments, and community and educational outings.

Project Girl Mentorship Program

The Project Girl Mentorship Program aims to nurture the advancement of young women of color to make positive life choices and maximize their authentic potential. The Project Girl Mentorship Program serves girls of color, Indigenous and LGBTQI +, as well as other at-risk youth from low-income families with limited resources, by providing free programs focused on health and wellness . The Project Girl Mentorship Program will use their Van GO vehicle to create a more equitable space and provide transportation to and from their community program events, field trips and support their nutrition program.

Stilly Valley Youth Dynamics

Stilly Valley Youth Dynamics partners with Arlington, Stanwood-Camano, Lakewood and Darrington school districts to provide support to students and families at three drop-in centers. The group also partners with service organizations, businesses and local churches to coordinate efforts to help students find the jobs and resources necessary for safe and successful lives. Stilly Valley Youth Dynamics will use their Van GO vehicle to provide transportation between the school and drop-in centers, transportation of students to venues and shops, the rock club and summer adventure days.

Stilly Valley Youth Dynamics will also provide transportation for extended trips during spring break and summer.

Go to the next stage

Take the Next Step is a faith-based, non-profit organization with a mission to provide friendship, help and hope to neighbors in need through programs such as its Community Resource Center , Kidz Club, after-school programs, community dinners, life skills classes, Teen Mom Support Group, and more. Take the Next Step will use their Van GO vehicle providing transportation to and from schools for after-school programs, transport volunteers to their programs and organize field trips for summer camps and youth activities.

Church of the Vision

Vision Church serves the residents of Snohomish County who are homeless and very low income who live in circumstances surrounding addiction, mental health and domestic violence. Vision Church operates a resource center that provides basic social services, employment services and recovery support. Vision Church will use its Van GO vehicle to transport clients to medical, legal and recovery meetings, provide transportation to Sunday church services, and transport children to and from summer programs.

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