The Rand Transportation Center as a Slice of Life!

I recently began working in Pennsauken, NJ on an infant mortality reduction contract.  I am a Quality Improvement Manager for a well known non-profit.  This organization addresses numerous issues that affect the health of unborn babies, postnatal babies and their mothers.  I have just begun to explore the causes of low birth weight babies.  I understand some of the causes of perinatal addictions and post partum depression.  The biggest challenge for us is to positively affect the struggles that these mothers face as they try to bring healthy babies into the world.

Camden, NJ is part of Camden County, NJ.  It suffers from high rates of smoking, domestic violence, teen pregnancy and infant mortality in comparison to the rest of the state.  The poverty rate is higher and the availability of jobs is lower.  Institutional racism still has lasting effects in this city.  I understand the challenges that the residents face.  I grew up  in a low income neighborhood that was affected by gang violence, some substandard housing and a lack of opportunities for young people.  The residents of Camden struggle to meet the basic needs of supporting a family and raising children.

 Image result for walter rand transportation center camden nj

I am amazed at the activities that surround the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden.  It is located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broadway.  I usually catch PATCO to the Broadway stop and then the 406 Bus into Pennsauken.  There are numerous buses that connect at this center.  There is also a light rail line that traverses an intersection close to here also.  The thing that is interesting is the myriad of people that are on some type of mission during the time that I am there.

There is always a person saying 'loosies, loosies'.  For those of you that don't know, these is the term for someone selling individual cigarettes.  The guys do a brisk business.  Also, there are people selling pre-paid phones.  There are individuals that look like they haven't had a good nights sleep in awhile.  There are also people, like myself, that are just trying to get from point A to point B.  It is a nice mix of white, black and Hispanic individuals waiting for buses or for whatever else is going on.  Less than a block away, the McDonald's is like a meeting spot for people in recovery programs.  I went in and walked out right away.  I got over my fear and ordered a coffee the next time I was there.

Mayor Dana Redd is working hard to address the social issues that affect her city.  President Barak Obama just visited Camden because it was designated a Promise Zone.  I remember when the city shared Empowerment Zone money with certain sections of Philadelphia.  It didn't seem to meet many of the benchmarks that were required at the time.  I attended a March for Jesus this weekend.  It ended up in Farnham Park which is across from Camden High.  I met some really nice people and I hope to follow up with them soon.  The Rand Transportation Center reminds me that everyone has a story to tell.  Only someone who has never struggled can pass judgment on the people that frequent this center for non-transportation purposes on a regular basis, 

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