Archive for August, 2009

First Anniversary and Volunteer Appreciation Luau!…

August 28, 2009

*** ITNBluegrass will hold First Anniversary Celebration ***

Come to join the staff, volunteers and supporters of ITNBluegrass for a fun evening of food and music and a short program recognizing our volunteers. Wear your Hawaiian shirts and muu muus!

DATE: Sunday, September 20
TIME: 5:00-8:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Second Presbyterian Church, 460 E Main St., Lexington
MORE: Food, program, and entertainment by Bill Kelly (50s, 60s and 70s music)!

If you can come, please contact Laura Dake at 859-252-8665.

Enfield’s Longest Table Benefit for ITNNorthCentralConnecticut

August 28, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009
4:00 – 6:30 PM at Rotary Park, Enfield Senior Center

Tickets and information:
Enfield Senior Center: 860-763-7425
Enfield Social Services: 860-253-6395
ITNNorthCentralConnecticut: 860-758-7833

The fundraiser event will be held on Sunday, September 13, 2009 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. among the bountiful gardens on the grounds of Rotary Park, outside Enfield’s Senior Center.

Seating will be provided, but the menu, table settings, and décor will be yours. You can plan your table’s theme; prepare and bring a feast you enjoy, and be prepared to consume summer’s end, your culinary expertise, and exceptional entertainment for a great cause.

Mass Conn Fusion will deliver a repertoire featuring Motown, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz and Blues hits. Their performances have been dubbed ‘audio-visual experiences’.

Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $15-25 per person or $100-200 per table of eight, and they may be obtained at the Enfield Senior Center, at 299 Elm Street, or the Enfield Department of Social Services, 100 High Street or by calling ITNNorthCentralConnecticut at 758-7833.

Talk to your friends, neighbors and co-workers, and help us to create a very long community table and reach our goal of raising $4,000 for ITN!

The Independent Transportation Network® celebrates a quarter million rides to seniors

August 27, 2009

ITNAmerica® links affiliates in a national senior transportation network

Westbrook, ME (September 2, 2009) – ITNAmerica is proud to announce the milestone of 250,000 rides provided to seniors and adults with visual impairments through our Independent Transportation Network® of affiliates. The historic ride was delivered by ITNNorthCentralConnecticut to 87 year old Anne C.

Anne travelled to the cathedral where her late husband was a minister. “I never thought I’d be back in that church again,” she told us. Due to deteriorating eyesight, Anne has lost her depth perception. Transportation options that would drop her off at the curb or a bus stop simply wouldn’t work. ITN drivers provide door to door, arm-through-arm service in private automobiles, 24/7, for any purpose and to any destination within the service area.

Katherine Freund, President and Founder of ITNAmerica, as well as the original ITN® affiliate in Portland, Maine, said, “I am thrilled with the progress of our affiliates, and the thousands of seniors who now have the opportunity to enjoy their lives without the burden of driving themselves. While our ITN communities are separated by many miles, our mission is shared from coast to coast. We bring dignified and affordable transportation to seniors who have stopped driving or are transitioning to the passenger seat.”

ITNAmerica is accepting applications for new affiliates. Any individual or organization interested in bringing this alternative transportation service to their community should visit, email, or call (207) 857-9001.

About ITNAmerica: ITNAmerica is the first and only national non-profit transportation network for America’s aging population. Our model marries the power of information technology and the strength of local, grassroots support. Our goal is to create an efficient and financially sustainable solution to the transportation needs of seniors and their families. There are currently 13 ITN affiliates in ten states, providing safe rides and peace of mind to families across the country.

New service takes the wheel for seniors

August 16, 2009


Without other options, older drivers tend to keep driving longer than is safe.

By contrast, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found, people who have choices might reduce their driving or stop driving at an earlier age.

Enter Sherry Hartz and ITNStCharles, a service that will provide safe transportation to seniors and visually impaired St. Charles County residents starting this fall.

During a recent visit to the St. Charles Senior Center, an elderly woman took Hartz aside and told her that her daughter had taken her car keys and that the ride program was just what she was looking for.

Read more about this new service [pdf]

“Grand Rounds” at the Motion Picture & Television Fund

August 14, 2009

Katherine Freund was an invited speaker at the Center on Aging’s Social Gerontology Grand Rounds program at the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). MPTF is a major sponsor of ITNGreaterLA.

Over 125 people attended the event, including the MPTF social and health senior services team, academics and professionals from around southern California, as well as representatives from communities interested in affiliation with ITNAmerica.

View the image gallery.
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From John Balentine, ITNPortland Dispatcher

August 13, 2009

A day in the life of an ITN dispatcher

The day starts early. It’s 6 a.m., mid-winter. Snow is falling persistently. It’s still dark but the small LCD display on my ITN® cell phone sends a faint glow onto my bedroom ceiling. From the number on the display I know it’s a driver calling. I think to myself, this can’t be good.

“It’s Jeanie. My car won’t start. There’s no way I can make that 7 a.m. pick-up,” the voice on the other end of the line says.

So starts an average day in the life of a dispatcher for ITNPortland™.

It’s the dispatcher’s job to make sure the day’s rides run smoothly. While we spend hours the day before preparing the next day’s schedule, rarely does a day go exactly according to plan.

It’s now 7:30 a.m. and I’m in my car driving to ITN’s office at the Dana Warp Mill on Bridge Street. in Westbrook. Another call comes in on my cell phone, this time from Mrs. Smith. She forgot to schedule a pick-up for 11 a.m. I tell her I’ll call her back when I get to the office and can check the schedule. After arriving at work, I go through each driver’s schedule for that day and eventually find an opening. I quickly call Mrs. Smith back and tell her we will pick her up at 11 a.m. Victory! The first bump of the day is resolved.

The day progresses as usual. Members needing rides for the next day call and schedule their upcoming rides. The other dispatcher Eric Bartlett, veteran dispatcher Mary Lou Zahn, or myself will answer each call, “ITN, this is (our name), how can I help you?” Most folks are very friendly, appreciative that an organization such as ITN is around to provide such a needed service.

After lunch at my desk, the next day’s schedule beckons. Knowing that most people have already called in to request their rides for the next day, I use ITN’s computer system to begin the process of scheduling the next day’s rides. To efficiently schedule, a dispatcher needs to know where destinations are and how long it takes to get there.

Scheduling is one thing. Having the day’s list of 50 to 70 rides proceed according to schedule is quite another. Despite such snags as heavy traffic, train crossings, and weather delays (especially in the winter), it’s remarkable the day’s schedule progresses as smoothly as it usually does.

But other times, the schedule can get off track. One thing that can ruin our schedule, is delays at doctor’s appointments. When someone calls to request a ride for a doctor’s appointment, the dispatcher’s job is to work with the rider to figure out how long an appointment will last. Obviously, some appointments last longer than others. Someone needing surgery will often need hours compared to someone visiting for a routine checkup. Many times, our estimate will be accurate. Other times, an ITN driver will arrive only to find the rider is still in with a doctor. As these snags occur throughout the day, we do our best to shift the schedule accordingly.

By 4 p.m., the next day’s schedule is usually complete. Inevitably, someone will call after 4 p.m. to schedule a ride for the next day. After working those into the schedule, we’ll print out each driver’s manifest. A manifest is a sheet of paper detailing specific pick-up and drop-off times and locations, the rider’s name, the doctor’s name, and any other pertinent information.

At ITNPortland, we have paid drivers, who use company cars, and volunteer drivers, who use their own cars. Since volunteers rarely come to ITN’s office in Westbrook, most request we e-mail their driver manifest information the night before. Depending on the number of volunteers available for the next day and how slow our typing fingers are moving, this process can take upwards of an hour to complete. We then call to confirm that everyone received their schedule and if they have any questions about the next day’s rides.

At 6 p.m., one of us will forward the office phone to the ITN cell phone and head out the door. As in the morning, inevitably someone will call at night to request a ride for the next day. The cell phone will ring, a shaft of LCD light will brighten my bedroom and I’ll awake to either a rider needing a ride or a driver not available for the day. But so goes the dispatching business. Our job is managing the snags. And when people need us, they can call and be sure an ITN dispatcher will answer.

Meet ITN Founder Katherine Freund At Discover ITNSanDiego Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 7, 2009

This month ONLY ITN founder, Katherine Freund, will be on-hand at Discover ITNSanDiego to share the story of how, through a tragic accident, she recognized a growing social problem and began taking steps toward a solution. Join us at 5:30 p.m. to learn about the new non-profit in San Diego that is changing the way people over 60 and adults with visual impairment plan for their transportation needs.

Katherine will share stories of how ITN affiliates across the country are helping seniors remain active despite their inability to drive.

Whether you are interested in helping us help seniors and adults with visual impairments continue to enjoy the activities that bring meaning to their lives, or you are interested in learning about becoming a member, you will not want to miss this very special opportunity.

Learn more about this event »

ITNPortland annouces partnership with Lee Auto Malls

August 6, 2009

ITNPortland uses traded or donated vehicles to replenish its fleet and to help subsidize member fares. ITN hopes to receive enough traded or donated cars to earn a new, fuel efficient Toyota!

View our CarTrade poster [pdf]

ITNSarasota Forum – Dignified Transportation For Seniors

August 5, 2009

Come and Learn from Tanice Knopp, Executive Director of ITNSarasota, how you can give as little as 30 minutes of your time to make a big difference in the life of another. The event will take a place at The Community Foundation of Sarasota County on September 10, 2009.

Read more about the event.

Food Gift Cards Promote Rides

August 5, 2009

Help Support ITNNorthCentralConnecticut by participating in a new fund raising effort.

View the Food Gift Card program. [pdf]