Maryland elementary school PTA teams up with Lyft to get parents to school, too

- A Gaithersburg school is creating a first-of-its-kind fundraising partnership with ride-hailing service Lyft.

At Jones Lane Elementary School, many students come from the surrounding neighborhood. But a neighborhood six miles away also feeds into the school. 

One parent told the Parent-Teacher Association about her struggles getting there without a car.

“Here is a parent in our school community who has access to a resource and is unable to get it because of transportation,” explained Jessica Berrellez, a PTA parent volunteer. “That was really an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me.”

Children go to and from campus on school buses. But a route for many parents in the West Side Drive neighborhood is a different story.

“A roundtrip took over three hours and included four bus transfers and walking four miles,” added Berrellez.

“According to my own calculations, we are about 40 or 50 families in the area where my child takes the bus,” explained Carolina Guillen, one of the parents who would benefit from this program.

So the school’s PTA decided to create a fundraiser that would help get these parents to their children’s school activities.

Whenever someone orders a Lyft, all they have to do is enter the promo code “JLESPTA.” That code will put $5 into the PTA fundraising account each time someone uses it.

“Parents will notify the school that they have a need to come to the school and they will be able to receive a gift card,” said Berrellez. “And they will use that gift card to request a Lyft.”

“Wow,” added Guillen at the thought of how this fundraiser could help her and others. “My world would change. Many people don’t have access to a car. This would be the biggest blessing that our neighborhood West Side Drive would have, and also for a lot of other neighborhoods.”

The PTA says they will try out the program out for six months and will reevaluate after that.

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