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"What Moves Us": How a Lifelong Passion Became an Internship at Green Streets

Hi! My name is Zakkai Mares-Van Praag (he/they), and I am excited to be an intern this summer with the Green Streets Initiative. A lifelong resident of Revere, MA, I will be entering my sophomore year at Haverford College in PA this fall.

Here’s a little info about my background and why I find this job to be right up my alley. I have always adored public transportation. From what I recall and what my parents have told me, by the time I was 4 years old, I was working towards memorizing every station on the MBTA, and could give advice to anyone who needed to get anywhere in the greater Boston area. When my grandparents visited, I made sure to take them all the way to the end of the green line, just for fun.

My love of public transit remained with me as I grew up. From seventh grade on, I traveled an hour alone to get to school on the blue and green lines, and always loved traveling new routes throughout the MBTA system to visit friends. On my college campus just outside Philadelphia, I love taking SEPTA, Philly’s transit system, around the area, as well as Amtrak to get home for my breaks. I also began using a bike to get around, through Haverford’s Bike Share program.

A picture during my MBTA game of my teammate/mother, Karla Van Praag, and I.

Most recently, I invented a game where players split into teams and travel around the MBTA, attempting to claim the most stations within a set amount of time. Players travel to each station to claim it, and must complete challenges (for example: have someone in a station take a picture of you!) to earn (fake) money and travel further.

In addition, I have always cared about the environment. Public transport, as well as biking, are far more sustainable than using a car, and in my opinion, even more fun. Green Streets and the What Moves Us project stood out to me when looking for opportunities this summer, because they are the perfect intersection of my love for transportation and my desire to make an impact. What Moves Us will allow me to help promote sustainable transportation, and hear the stories of a wide range of commuters who also are working towards a car-light way of living. Through this project, I want to help show people how amazing public transportation and biking can be!

Please feel free to reach out to me at to bring a What Moves Us project to your community, or if you have any questions or thoughts to share!

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