Every year, thousands of children with a parent in prison attend free summer camps, sports camps, after-school programs, and other activities through Prison Fellowship Angel Tree.
This past summer, Uber stepped in to make experiences like these possible for kids without access to transportation.
Thanks to a partnership with Prison Fellowship®, teens in the Atlanta area could access free Uber rides to attend several free educational enrichment programs.
For Catarina, a single, working mother in Atlanta, this initiative allowed her two children to spend six weeks in a culinary training program at the Shular Institute, where they learned how to cook under the supervision of a professional chef.
“It’s really helpful,” Catarina says of the free rides program. “Because of my work schedule, and where it was located, and the time of day, it wouldn't have worked [otherwise].”
UBER SAW A NEED AND STEPPED IN
This partnership was started on the heels of Uber’s launch of teen accounts, a feature that lets children 13 and older book rides under the supervision of a parent or guardian’s Uber account. Introduced in May 2023, this feature enables teenagers to travel independently while remaining under their parents’ supervision. Teen accounts come with several safety features, including the ability to track teens’ journeys in real time, and Uber only permits highly rated, experienced drivers to transport underage passengers.
Catarina says her kids' experience booking rides had been "very nice." She particularly appreciates getting a notification each time her kids order a ride or arrive at their destination.
“The drivers that we had were really good [and] patient,” she says. “I was able to leave notes [in the app], and they always responded.”
Angel Tree® children also used free Uber rides to attend a STEM career pathway program at the Morehouse School of Medicine and a creative arts camp at an Atlanta-area community center, gaining valuable training and mentorship opportunities. These programs were provided through the First Chance Network™, a Prison Fellowship initiative committed to creating a future where every child has an equal opportunity to thrive.
CHANGING LIVES, ONE RIDE AT A TIME
According to Zoraida Rodríguez Montenegro, senior manager of federal affairs at Uber, the partnership with Prison Fellowship exemplifies the company’s willingness to use its core business to provide opportunities to disadvantaged communities.
“What we do best is connect people and take them places,” says Zoraida. “What I love about working at Uber is that by removing transportation barriers, we can provide access to a lot of things.”
Uber shares Prison Fellowship’s commitment to criminal justice reform. The company has supported federal legislation to remove unfair legal barriers faced by individuals with a criminal record. Uber has also provided employment opportunities for former prisoners across the country by participating in Second Chance® job fairs. By partnering with Prison Fellowship to support Angel Tree teens, Uber is now extending its philanthropic reach to support the children of the incarcerated.
“The impact when somebody’s in prison,” says Zoraida, is felt “not only in the person but also in the family.”
As the reach of this program grows, young people across the country will gain access to experiences that will broaden their horizons—hopefully leading to better futures. Uber and Prison Fellowship’s partnership is investing in the lives of Angel Tree kids, one ride at a time.
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