Lizia O. Santos, City Catt Co-Founder recently launched a new program, Autism On The Go, that pairs families affected by autism with Autism Certified Catts who live in the destination and can help them find the best places to accommodate their child’s needs.
Below is an interview with Santos regarding her passion for traveling and her amazing App.
Tell us about your organization and how you got started?
I've always been a passionate hostess and traveler. Growing up, airports were my favorite place in the world. Then I became an adult, got married, had 3 kids, and had to start planning trips for my family. Man, it's so stressful! It takes so long to figure out what to do, browse through dozens of websites, deciphering conflicting reviews... When coming back from my youngest first pediatrician visit, and thinking about it, it occurred to me that my best trips are the ones where I can talk to a local friend and get his/her help on finding out what's best around them.
My friends love it when I help them plan trips to my city. So, I thought: why not connecting people in a way so everybody could have friends everywhere to help them efficiently plan the best trips? That's when City Catt was born! I took the idea and started the company then. It's been a year and a half of this amazing journey!
Why is it important for parents to have great travel experiences?
Nothing bonds families like traveling. It's the time with no distractions, and with plenty of discovery. It's when we live travel fails together and laugh about it. It's when our kids find out the world is much larger than their neighborhood. Parents carry a lot of weight daily when caring for and supporting their families. This time off as a family must be the best, to refuel them for coming back and facing real life again. And, most importantly, it has to the best because there's nothing more precious than making memories with your family.
How can people without special needs children get involved?
I designed City Catt to be a tool where parents help parents, retirees help retirees, and so on. The platform allows for any person older than 21+, living in a city for more than 2 years, and that agrees to be properly screened to become a Catt and make extra money while helping people plan trips to their towns. It's a great way for parents to generate extra income on flexible hours. And most importantly, it's a parent's ticket to easy trip planning and great family vacations!
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