Tim Cosseboom, CITC’s Transportation Coordinator, first heard about Christmas in the City in 2012. Knowing of Tim’s interest in things transportation-related, Jean H, who’d been a bus driver for the event, mentioned it to him shortly after the Party was held. It stuck in his mind, and the next year when volunteer registration opened up, Tim signed up to work as the Transportation Coordinator. He was just seventeen and a senior at Plymouth High.
That first year, with all the transportation planning already completed, Tim’s job was pretty much just sticking numbers on buses. 170 of them. But he was on the lookout for ways to make things run more smoothly, and to get all those eager, antsy kids in to the Party as quickly as possible. The first year Tim worked as a volunteer, some of the kids ended up stuck on their buses for a long time, waiting to unload. Since then, Tim has improved things dramatically, and he’s gotten it down to the point where all our guests are ushered inside within 15 minutes of when their bus pulls up.
Luckily for CITC, Tim has a strong passion for transportation – he also volunteers with buses for the Falmouth Road Race and Boston Marathon, and is even studying for his bus driver’s license – and he’s been able to channel that passion into making sure that transportation to and from the Party works as flawlessly as possible.
Tim’s role as Transportation Coordinator and the responsibility that comes with it are huge. He’s in charge of coordinating 160+ school buses coming from First Student Bus Company locations on the Cape and the South Shore, and in parts of Worcester County. These buses then fan out across Boston and its environs, and Tim’s job is to make sure that all the families are picked up and brought to the Convention Center. Just think about it: if the kids and their families can’t get to the Party, there would be no party.
Work on transportation for the Party really revs up in early November, when Tim begins contacting the shelters we work with – there are dozens of them. By December, he’s getting out the information on pickup times for each shelter. By Party day, he’s all ready to go. But along the way, there are countless hours spent on coordination with Jake and Sparky Kennedy; with CITC mainstays like Nancy, and volunteer coordinators Lisa, Mark, and Andy; with the shelter directors; and with the bus company. Tim also makes it a point to visit each shelter to make sure that drivers will be able to safely make their pickups at the location. He’s also responsible for making sure the directions and instructions for our drivers are perfectly clear. (Tim knows all the ins-and-outs of navigating in Boston – what the height and weight restrictions are on streets, what routes to avoid.) Because of all the hard work he puts into making sure things work so smoothly, Tim has a great relationship with the bus drivers, and is the recipient of plenty of props and high-fives. (From CITC folks, too, of course. Tim rocks.)
While Tim’s passion is for transportation, his work with CITC goes above and beyond. As Tim has said, “I love the organization. I love Jake and Sparky. You bring an idea to them, and nine times out of ten, they love it and approve it. Everyone is awesome to work with and we are a team – a darned good team!” Clearly, Jake and Sparky saw early on that, even though he was just seventeen, Tim was the right guy to head up the CITC transportation effort.
“The main reason I love CITC,” Tim adds, “Is the kids. It’s hard to describe the sights of the morning when the kids and parents are getting off the buses. They may be a bit confused at first – there are an awful lot of buses and an awful lot of people pouring out of them – but from the moment the high school student volunteers start walking the kids from the buses into the event, the smiles begin and the anticipation sets in. They know they’re the guests of honor and that the Party’s just for them. The tough situations they’re in are pushed to the back burner for 4-5 hours. I’m thrilled to play a role in such a wonderful organization.”
On Party day, Tim spends plenty of time standing out in the frigid cold making sure that everyone gets off their bus, back on the right bus, and back home safely. But he also gets to walk through the Party, and when he’s making the hour-long trek back to his own home, he has some time for reflection. “When I recap the day, it comes down to how much I like knowing that our guests know that there are people who care about them and the difficulties life has brought them,” he says. “It’s really gratifying just knowing that I’ve made a difference, in some small way, in so many lives.”
Only seventeen when he began volunteering, and all of twenty now, Tim Cosseboom, Transportation Wunderkind, shows us all each year just what kind of a difference someone can make.
Just like at the Academy Awards, Tim wants to make a few shout-outs. Shout away, Tim:
I have to give a huge shout-out to the First Student Bus Company, especially to Barbie, Joe and Christine of Randolph, Plymouth & Weymouth for using their transportation management expertise to help us every year and for dealing with my constant e-mails, meetings and most of all, the phone calls on Party Day! Another shout-out to the bus drivers: Faith, Bethann, Kate, Claudine, Dena, Jean and all the drivers from Falmouth, Bourne, Duxbury, Pembroke, Silver Lake, Plymouth, Brockton, Weymouth, Randolph, Wayland, Lincoln-Sudbury, Norwell & Abington. They’re all coming in from far distances on the morning of the Party, and are out on their buses with their coworkers for up to ten hours driving through areas of Boston that they have probably never driven through, even in their car. The drivers are the backbone of the event. We cannot do it without them.
Picture credit for the shot of the fleet – taken during the 2015 Party – goes to driver Claudine B.