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Leadership Florence -Ride a Mile in My Shoes

LEADERSHIP FLORENCE - RIDE A MILE IN MY SHOES

 

posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2017

On  December  13th,  The  Florence  Chamber's Leadership  Florence  program  took  part  in  a  program  called  Ride  A  Mile  in  My  Shoes.  With  help from PDRTA, Florence-Darlington Technical College,
HopeHealth and Poynor Adult Ed, participants were able to see our community from a different perspective We have documented feedback from several members of  the 2016-2017 Leadership Florence class.

Bright an early at 8am on December 13th, this year's class of  Leadership  Florence  walked  into  the  Florence  Chamber not knowing what to expect. It was the dreariest of days with nonstop  rain  and  an  unwavering  breeze. We  weren't  given an agenda, notes, or any information on the day's activities
beforehand  so  we  all  gathered  together  over  coffee  and danishes  mulling  every  possibility.  During  the  morning's orientation we were introduced to Chuck and Ron from Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA). We learned that part of our mission would be utilizing Florence's public transportation. For many, myself included, this was our first experience with PDRTA.
Our  class  was  quickly  divided  into  four  teams,  given separate  action  items  to  complete,  and  sent  on  our  merry wet way. We were greeted by one of the many friendly faces behind the wheel of Florence's busing unit and began handing  out  spare  tickets  that  we  had  been  given  from  PDRTA.
We would distribute these free fares to some of the folks at various stops throughout the day. After socializing with some folks in line, we took a bus to our first stop: Hope Health. We arrived about the same time as one of the other groups but were not given the same warm welcome that they received.
This is when things became very clear to us as to what we had in store and how the day would unravel.
As  it  turns  out,  each  of  the  four  groups  had  been  given a  certain  social  demographic  status  and  was  to  spend  the day  in  a  simulation  of  that  lifestyle  along  with  the  associated perceptions. Hope Health, Poynor School, and Florence Darlington Technical College all played a role in making sure
that  we  all  experienced  life  as  our  assigned  demographic. Even Les with the Chamber played puppeteer handing out free massages to members of the elite group! In addition to the assimilation, we had a wonderful session and tour at Florence Darlington Technical College where we all  participated  in  personality  tests  to  identify  careers  that would best fit our disposition. We had a demonstration of a
patient experience at Hope Health - fitted to the classification that we were assigned. We also checked in at Poynor for a skills assessment test. These aspects of the day really paid tribute  to  the  different  opportunities  that  we  have  here  in Florence for education of all levels and Healthcare for everyone. These activities were all tied together with the PDRTA's public  transportation  that  can  really  benefit  everyone  no matter  your  demographic,  but  is  a  necessity  for  many  in Florence and the surrounding areas. At  the  end  of  the  day  we  returned  to  the  Chamber  to discuss  our  different  experiences  as  different  members  of society.  Some  of  us  literally  had  the  red  carpet  rolled  out while another group ate bologna Lunchables for lunch. We laughed, we cried, and at the end of the day we all walked
away with a better understanding and appreciation having ridden a mile in someone else's shoes.

Jessica Huggins - Webster Rogers

At the start of the day on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016, our group had little idea what was in store for us. We knew that we would learn about, and most likely experience, public transportation in the City of Florence. As members of the 2016-2017 Leadership Florence class, we had spent one day each month since October learning about different aspects of  our  city:  media,  advertising,  the  arts,  and  health  care issues. Each topic had been interesting, but now it we were about to get more "hands on."
The morning began at the Florence Chamber of Commerce where  the  class  was  divided  into  teams  of  five  or  six.  Each team  was  given  a  mysterious  envelope  containing  the  following: a map of the PDRTA bus routes, a bus schedule, bus passes, and a list of instructions. Our team was the Blue team,
and our instructions were specific to us: We  were  to  walk  to  the  nearest  bus  transfer  station  and
catch  the  bus  heading  to  Florence-Darlington  Technical College. The weather was chilly. The sky was gray, and it was pouring  down  rain.  But  the  instructions  said  walk,  so  walk we did-and we only had a few minutes to get there, or we'd miss our bus! The  "terminal,"  located  behind  the  Shell  Station  on  the corner of Irby and Darlington Streets, was a repurposed car wash. We huddled under the overhang and waited. Not one of us regularly used public transportation; in fact most of us
had  never  ridden  PDRTA  in  our  lives.  We  must  have  stood out, because several people at the bus stop asked who we were and what we were doing. When we boarded the bus, we  had  several  interesting  conversations  with  people  we might not otherwise have met. Most of these people rely on
PDRTA every day to travel between work, home, school, the grocery  store,  and  other  necessary  errands.  One  of  our  fellow passengers was a mother carrying a cart full of supplies for  her  child's  birthday  party.  Some  of  our  team  members offered  her  some  assistance,  but  under  normal  circumstances she may have had to haul everything on and off the bus by herself.
Throughout  the  day,  our  trip  took  to  us  the  FlorenceDarlington  Technical  College,  Poynor  Adult  Education,  and HopeHealth. At FDTC we took personality tests designed to help us identify potential careers. At Poynor, we took placement tests in math and reading. At HopeHealth, one of our
team members volunteered to pose as a sick patient in need of  treatment.  However,  the  HopeHealth  staff  made  it  clear that since our patient had very poor insurance, and no ability to pay, that he would not be receiving treatment. It was here that we encountered some of the other teams, and  noticed  that  they  were  being  treated  quite  differently. Some of them much worse, some of them much better, having had a literal red carpet rolled out for them. As we waited in the rain for our final bus to take us back to the Chamber for lunch, we started to wonder why we were being treated differently.
At the chamber, we discovered more unequal treatment. Our  team's  boxed  lunches  were  from  Subway.  However, we  noticed  that  another  team  had  received  a  boxed  lunch from Victors Bistro, and still another had been forced to eat Lunchables.
When the entire class returned, we discussed our experiences. Each of us had learned about the public transportation  system  in  Florence,  but  we  also  experienced,  in  some small  part,  the  realities  of  social  inequality  in  our  area.  Not every  team  had  received  the  same  treatment,  just  as  not
every  income  level  has  the  same  access  to  transportation, healthcare, education, and other resources that many of us take for granted. The "Ride  a  Mile  in  my  Shoes"  session  was  eye-opening.
Not  only  had  we  learned  to  appreciate  the  importance  of safe and reliable transportation in our daily lives, but also to appreciate  the  realities  faced  by  people  of  different  socioeconomic status. Hopefully we each went forth with a more holistic understanding of the challenges faced by our communities.
Celeste Kahn - FDTC

"Ride A Mile In My Shoes" day was quite an eye opening experience. We started the day visiting Hope Health where they rolled out the red carpet (literally!). The physician provided  her  personal  cell  phone  number  and  offered  home visits.  We  were  even  served  a  beverage-of-choice  by  the
Chef.  As  we  walked  the  short  distance  to  the  PDRTA  bus stop, the Red Team and I marveled at the amazing customer service we had experienced. From there we visited FlorenceDarlington  Technical  College,  had  a  wonderful  lunch  at the  Chamber  with  multiple  sandwich  and  drink  options,
spent  some  time  with  the  delightful  staff  at  Poynor  Adult Education Center, and ended the day with a chair massage. And each stop along our route provided us the same impressive experience. Additionally, with each PDRTA ride, we met some of the most charming community members. Overall,
it was a superb day that couldn't be dampened even by the day's heavy rain. By the end of the day, we knew we were being treated differently - we were clearly special somehow - but we assumed
all the Leadership Florence groups had been treated equally well. It wasn't until the other teams shared the details of their day  that  we  realized  the  truth:  inequality  exists. While  the experiences of the day were staged, the lessons were quite real. Personally, I found myself feeling guilty, knowing that my  friends  and  colleagues  had  a  day  significantly  different than mine; some had only crackers for lunch!
Prejudice, bias, and discrimination happen every day and are  visible  in  many  forms:  racism,  lassism,  ageism,  sexism, etc. Why is that? Why do we treat some people differently? Is this a learned behavior from our parents? Do we accept it as "just the way things are?" Perhaps if we learn to observe with
our eyes and our hearts, each of us work daily to improve self, and do our best to simply be kind… Perhaps then, we can make true progress toward equality and respect for all.
Pam Elliot - McLeod Health




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Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority: Be Transported


posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On  December  13th,  The  Florence  Chamber's Leadership  Florence  program  took  part  in  a  program  called  Ride  A  Mile  in  My  Shoes.  With  help from PDRTA, Florence-Darlington Technical College,
HopeHealth and Poynor Adult Ed, participants were able to see our community from a different perspective We have documented feedback from several members of  the 2016-2017 Leadership Florence class.

Bright an early at 8am on December 13th, this year's class of  Leadership  Florence  walked  into  the  Florence  Chamber not knowing what to expect. It was the dreariest of days with nonstop  rain  and  an  unwavering  breeze. We  weren't  given an agenda, notes, or any information on the day's activities
beforehand  so  we  all  gathered  together  over  coffee  and danishes  mulling  every  possibility.  During  the  morning's orientation we were introduced to Chuck and Ron from Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA). We learned that part of our mission would be utilizing Florence's public transportation. For many, myself included, this was our first experience with PDRTA.
Our  class  was  quickly  divided  into  four  teams,  given separate  action  items  to  complete,  and  sent  on  our  merry wet way. We were greeted by one of the many friendly faces behind the wheel of Florence's busing unit and began handing  out  spare  tickets  that  we  had  been  given  from  PDRTA.
We would distribute these free fares to some of the folks at various stops throughout the day. After socializing with some folks in line, we took a bus to our first stop: Hope Health. We arrived about the same time as one of the other groups but were not given the same warm welcome that they received.
This is when things became very clear to us as to what we had in store and how the day would unravel.
As  it  turns  out,  each  of  the  four  groups  had  been  given a  certain  social  demographic  status  and  was  to  spend  the day  in  a  simulation  of  that  lifestyle  along  with  the  associated perceptions. Hope Health, Poynor School, and Florence Darlington Technical College all played a role in making sure
that  we  all  experienced  life  as  our  assigned  demographic. Even Les with the Chamber played puppeteer handing out free massages to members of the elite group! In addition to the assimilation, we had a wonderful session and tour at Florence Darlington Technical College where we all  participated  in  personality  tests  to  identify  careers  that would best fit our disposition. We had a demonstration of a
patient experience at Hope Health - fitted to the classification that we were assigned. We also checked in at Poynor for a skills assessment test. These aspects of the day really paid tribute  to  the  different  opportunities  that  we  have  here  in Florence for education of all levels and Healthcare for everyone. These activities were all tied together with the PDRTA's public  transportation  that  can  really  benefit  everyone  no matter  your  demographic,  but  is  a  necessity  for  many  in Florence and the surrounding areas. At  the  end  of  the  day  we  returned  to  the  Chamber  to discuss  our  different  experiences  as  different  members  of society.  Some  of  us  literally  had  the  red  carpet  rolled  out while another group ate bologna Lunchables for lunch. We laughed, we cried, and at the end of the day we all walked
away with a better understanding and appreciation having ridden a mile in someone else's shoes.

Jessica Huggins - Webster Rogers

At the start of the day on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016, our group had little idea what was in store for us. We knew that we would learn about, and most likely experience, public transportation in the City of Florence. As members of the 2016-2017 Leadership Florence class, we had spent one day each month since October learning about different aspects of  our  city:  media,  advertising,  the  arts,  and  health  care issues. Each topic had been interesting, but now it we were about to get more "hands on."
The morning began at the Florence Chamber of Commerce where  the  class  was  divided  into  teams  of  five  or  six.  Each team  was  given  a  mysterious  envelope  containing  the  following: a map of the PDRTA bus routes, a bus schedule, bus passes, and a list of instructions. Our team was the Blue team,
and our instructions were specific to us: We  were  to  walk  to  the  nearest  bus  transfer  station  and
catch  the  bus  heading  to  Florence-Darlington  Technical College. The weather was chilly. The sky was gray, and it was pouring  down  rain.  But  the  instructions  said  walk,  so  walk we did-and we only had a few minutes to get there, or we'd miss our bus! The  "terminal,"  located  behind  the  Shell  Station  on  the corner of Irby and Darlington Streets, was a repurposed car wash. We huddled under the overhang and waited. Not one of us regularly used public transportation; in fact most of us
had  never  ridden  PDRTA  in  our  lives.  We  must  have  stood out, because several people at the bus stop asked who we were and what we were doing. When we boarded the bus, we  had  several  interesting  conversations  with  people  we might not otherwise have met. Most of these people rely on
PDRTA every day to travel between work, home, school, the grocery  store,  and  other  necessary  errands.  One  of  our  fellow passengers was a mother carrying a cart full of supplies for  her  child's  birthday  party.  Some  of  our  team  members offered  her  some  assistance,  but  under  normal  circumstances she may have had to haul everything on and off the bus by herself.
Throughout  the  day,  our  trip  took  to  us  the  FlorenceDarlington  Technical  College,  Poynor  Adult  Education,  and HopeHealth. At FDTC we took personality tests designed to help us identify potential careers. At Poynor, we took placement tests in math and reading. At HopeHealth, one of our
team members volunteered to pose as a sick patient in need of  treatment.  However,  the  HopeHealth  staff  made  it  clear that since our patient had very poor insurance, and no ability to pay, that he would not be receiving treatment. It was here that we encountered some of the other teams, and  noticed  that  they  were  being  treated  quite  differently. Some of them much worse, some of them much better, having had a literal red carpet rolled out for them. As we waited in the rain for our final bus to take us back to the Chamber for lunch, we started to wonder why we were being treated differently.
At the chamber, we discovered more unequal treatment. Our  team's  boxed  lunches  were  from  Subway.  However, we  noticed  that  another  team  had  received  a  boxed  lunch from Victors Bistro, and still another had been forced to eat Lunchables.
When the entire class returned, we discussed our experiences. Each of us had learned about the public transportation  system  in  Florence,  but  we  also  experienced,  in  some small  part,  the  realities  of  social  inequality  in  our  area.  Not every  team  had  received  the  same  treatment,  just  as  not
every  income  level  has  the  same  access  to  transportation, healthcare, education, and other resources that many of us take for granted. The "Ride  a  Mile  in  my  Shoes"  session  was  eye-opening.
Not  only  had  we  learned  to  appreciate  the  importance  of safe and reliable transportation in our daily lives, but also to appreciate  the  realities  faced  by  people  of  different  socioeconomic status. Hopefully we each went forth with a more holistic understanding of the challenges faced by our communities.
Celeste Kahn - FDTC

"Ride A Mile In My Shoes" day was quite an eye opening experience. We started the day visiting Hope Health where they rolled out the red carpet (literally!). The physician provided  her  personal  cell  phone  number  and  offered  home visits.  We  were  even  served  a  beverage-of-choice  by  the
Chef.  As  we  walked  the  short  distance  to  the  PDRTA  bus stop, the Red Team and I marveled at the amazing customer service we had experienced. From there we visited FlorenceDarlington  Technical  College,  had  a  wonderful  lunch  at the  Chamber  with  multiple  sandwich  and  drink  options,
spent  some  time  with  the  delightful  staff  at  Poynor  Adult Education Center, and ended the day with a chair massage. And each stop along our route provided us the same impressive experience. Additionally, with each PDRTA ride, we met some of the most charming community members. Overall,
it was a superb day that couldn't be dampened even by the day's heavy rain. By the end of the day, we knew we were being treated differently - we were clearly special somehow - but we assumed
all the Leadership Florence groups had been treated equally well. It wasn't until the other teams shared the details of their day  that  we  realized  the  truth:  inequality  exists. While  the experiences of the day were staged, the lessons were quite real. Personally, I found myself feeling guilty, knowing that my  friends  and  colleagues  had  a  day  significantly  different than mine; some had only crackers for lunch!
Prejudice, bias, and discrimination happen every day and are  visible  in  many  forms:  racism,  lassism,  ageism,  sexism, etc. Why is that? Why do we treat some people differently? Is this a learned behavior from our parents? Do we accept it as "just the way things are?" Perhaps if we learn to observe with
our eyes and our hearts, each of us work daily to improve self, and do our best to simply be kind… Perhaps then, we can make true progress toward equality and respect for all.
Pam Elliot - McLeod Health





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