By John Cichowski
Road Warrior Columnist
Find rides for seniors
If you’ve tried to get an elderly parent to give up a driver’s license, you know this complaint: “How will I get around?”
Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 12:47 PM EST
EAST WINDSOR- ITN North Central Connecticut Senior Transportation Services is looking for drivers to volunteer their time.
ITN is an independent nonprofit senior transportation service network that has been providing service to area older residents since 2006. Its main goal is to provide older residents and the visually impaired with transportation and to give them some independence without feeling like they’re a burden to others.
The senior population in the state is growing, and by 2030 the population is expected to grow 64 percent, ITN Executive Director Margaret Smith-Hale said.
“We need drivers to keep pace. We’re the only alternative to seniors,” Smith-Hale said.
ITN separates itself from other senior services such as Dial-A-Ride and mini buses, because it provides nonstop service, and rides are offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round. Service is provided to individuals who live in Bloomfield, East Granby, East Windsor, Enfield, Granby, Somers, South Windsor, Suffield, Windsor, and Windsor Locks.
This transportation program uses volunteer drivers who provide rides in private vehicles. There are no restrictions on the purpose of rides. Drivers will take members to doctor appointments, lunch dates, and shopping. Drivers take care of members’ every need, such as carrying groceries, packages, folding walkers, and opening doors.
“ITN has given me life again,” member Billie Alban said. “I can do the shopping I need, keep medical appointments, go to lunch with friends.”
“The drivers are wonderful. When necessary they will accompany me into a store to find something I need.” Alban said. “There are no words that describe how important this program has been to help me live my life.”
Volunteers submit to background checks and must provide three references. Volunteers also must be over 18 years old, have a clean driving record, and no criminal record
“Volunteers are critical to the sustainability of the program,” Smith-Hale said.
For more information or to become a member or a volunteer driver, applications are available at www.itnnorthcentralct.org
Read about ITN, including comments by Katherine Freund, in today’s The New York Times Opinionator.
A nonprofit organization [ITNMontereyCounty] is launching a low-cost car service that will take older citizens anywhere they need to go in the greater Monterey Peninsula area starting Jan. 10.
For an average charge of around $10 (based on mileage), the Independent Transportation Network of Monterey County will transport seniors (60 and older) to the doctor, the mall, a bingo hall, a friend’s house, or any other location, at any hour.
Visually impaired locals 18 or older will also be eligible, and the service might soon be extended to adults afflicted with epilepsy.
The initial coverage area will include the Highway 1 corridor from Marina to Carmel, Carmel Valley and Castroville, and service is expected to be added soon for the Highway 68 corridor and Salinas.
ITNCoastlCT co-president Maybeth Wirz and Advisory Committee Member Stanley Nayer at the Concourse D’Elegance on September 18, 2011.
ITNBluegrass proudly nominates Stan Wonn as its candidate for the Max and Helen Israelite 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award. Stan exemplifies what it means to be a volunteer by serving in numerous capacities within ITNBluegrass. He started as a volunteer driver in December 2008 and by the time he was asked to become a board member in May 2009, he had logged more than 1,000 miles! (He has since logged an additional 2,000+ miles!)
Stan’s talents truly came to light when he was nominated ITNBluegrass Board Chair in June 2010. We are reminded of the qualities of the ITNAmerica mascot when we think of Stan – a head for business, a non-profit heart and a willingness to work. Not to mention the spark plug! Under Stan’s leadership, our board has been revitalized and reinvigorated, and there is a renewed emphasis on running ITNBluegrass as a business. Stan has introduced several new committees – Audit, Development and Policies and Procedures, to name a few – and meets with each of the committee chairs regularly to assess progress. A major project Stan plus other board members and staff undertook in summer 2010 was to write a detailed business plan for ITNBluegrass. This was a huge amount of work but we are the better for it as it gives us increased credibility with potential funders.
And just a few weeks ago, the ITNBluegrass board approved an extensive HR manual for the office. While it was based on a template from an established business, it took hours to edit it for our small non-profit and get it into final.
Other initiatives Stan is working on are the Executive Director transition and a security policy for ITNBluegrass data (tax records, personnel records, etc.). Stan’s background is in IT; his last job before retiring from Ashland (Oil), Inc. after 45 years of service was as Manager of Global Network and Computing Information Security. Following the events of September 11, 2001, Stan was one of just a few corporate security officers who participated in the development of the US Homeland Security Department.
Now the non-profit heart. Stan says he enjoys volunteering because he “has a sense that we should all contribute to making things better, especially while we are still physically capable.” He has also shared that he is passionate about ITN’s mission because his own mother lost her ability to drive and that “on many occasions she just wouldn’t go [somewhere] rather than impose. As a result her ability to live life to the fullest was very limited.” Stan certainly appreciates the difficulties facing those who have given up driving and wants to help older people in our community overcome those difficulties.
Finally, Stan and his wife Dana also fold, stamp and mail our billing statements…every month! Maybe not the thing to end on, but certainly an illustration of “willing to work!”
Stan is truly deserving of the honor of Volunteer of the Year.
ITNAmerica was featured in the in the October 16th edition of Parade Magazine
Getting out and around became more complicated for Ed and Lilyann Yokel when they moved out of their home and into an assisted living facility last spring. The couple, who are in their 90s, were used to depending on friends and neighbors for rides to various appointments and engagements. But, such arrangements were no longer convenient in their new neighborhood.
In an effort to help their parents maintain as much of their lifestyle as possible, the Yokels’ three sons – who all live in other states – found a solution to their transportation needs in ITNRacineCounty. ITN stands for Independent Transportation Network, and Racine County’s program is part of a network of 16 ITN America affiliates nationwide – the purpose of which is to provide sustainable, community-based transportation services for seniors.