When Marcus Gray kept getting stuck in the rain or sweltering sun at his bus bench in front of Hialeah City Hall, he decided something needed to be done.
Marcus, a special-needs intern with the city, asked Mayor Carlos Hernandez if he could help him out. Hernandez worked with Clear Channel Communications to install a covered bus shelter on Fifth Street and Palm Avenue.
On Monday morning, Hernandez dedicated the bus shelter in front of a crowd of 50, officially naming the stop “Marcus’ Station.”
“I’m really so proud of it,” said Marcus, 22. He covered his face, smiling ear to ear, when he saw the new sign with his name.
Marcus said he was upset whenever he got stuck in bad weather and felt bad for everyone else to whom it happened.
“People went outside in the bus in weather and that got me sad,” he said. “I care for them.”
Marcus is in a Miami-Dade County Public Schools program called Project Search, which works with students to integrate them into the workplace and teaches life skills, such as how to use the public transportation system. The one-year internship teaches students how to work in an office and helps them with job placement.
Hernandez said he was moved to help Marcus because of how important he believes the program is.
“It’s just an incredible thing to support,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez also officially offered Marcus a job working with the city on Monday.
“Marcus is a hard worker, and someone whom everybody loves,” Hernandez said. “He is someone who is going to be a positive role model for all of the students coming through here.”
Marcus was excited about the unexpected offer.
“I didn’t expect it,” Marcus said. “He surprised me. I feel happiness.”
Marcus will be the third participant from Project Search to be hired by the city.
“We not only want this to be a training ground but also when we have an opening, that we can offer one of these men or women an opportunity,” Hernandez said.
Nick Chang, a transition specialist with MDCPS, helps teach the interns how to use buses to get to and from their internships.
“A huge stumbling block is the transportation,” Chang said.
Many of the students are used to relying on parents or school buses to get them places. Chang spends the summer teaching participants how to get from their homes to the office and back.
“They’re so used to having everything done for them … and when it’s time to go to work, there’s no way for them to get there,” he said.