ITNSarasota, a community based non-profit agency providing dignified transportation for seniors and adults with visual impairment, has been awarded a $115,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The grant supplements part of the costs for providing individual transportation in private automobiles. Member riders can use this unique transportation service as needed 24 hours a day seven days a week; whether it’s to go grocery shopping, to the doctor’s office, for a hair cut or to take in a show.
“We would not have been able to launch this safe, affordable, and sustainable transportation alternative to the community without the caring support of the Community Foundation!” says Art Mahoney, ITNSarasota Board Chair. “We’ve implemented an innovative model whereby seniors and visually impaired adults now have access to arm-through-arm, door-through-door, cost-effective transportation when they want it and for whatever reason. That’s great news for the thousands of older adults and visually impaired in our service area.”
“I’ll be 80 years old next month, but still want to live life to the fullest, stay active and be involved in the community,” Sarasota resident and ITN member, Barbara said. “This service allows us to schedule our appointments, shopping, and visits to the Volunteer Friendship Center when we choose and not have to depend on someone else’s availability. My daughter is wonderful and can often take us places, but she has a full-time job. ITNSarasota was her gift to us and it has helped my husband and I regain some of the independence we lost when we stopped driving,” said Theresa.
ITNSarasota is one of 16 ITN affiliates in communities nationwide that replicates the successful, nonprofit membership organization begun in Portland, Maine nearly 20 years ago by Katherine Freund. Freund, now founder and president of ITNAmerica, is a national leader in senior transportation issues.
“The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has helped us launch this exciting service locally, and a diversified base of community support will keep us growing,” says ITNSarasota Executive Director, Donna Dunio. “Individuals, businesses, community organizations and most especially Volunteer Drivers are invited to contribute to and participate in this dignified transportation option for seniors and adults with visual impairment. Dunio added, “Our Volunteer Drivers are our heroes – think how rewarding your help and companionship would be to a senior who can no longer get behind the wheel!” For more information on how YOU can be a Volunteer Driver for ITNSarasota contact ITNSarasota at (941) 364-7530 or www.itnsarasota.org.”