WHISTLESTOP ANNOUNCES NEW COMMUNITY-WIDE “VOLUNTEER DRIVER” TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM
Volunteer Driver Program begins February 15, 2011
Whistlestop, the San Rafael based non-profit organization that provides vital services to Marin County’s older adults and individuals with disabilities, announced that it will introduce a unique concept in transportation, the Volunteer Driver Program, beginning on February 15th. The program, based on a model that has become quite successful in other parts of the country, is geared for older adults who need help getting to doctor appointments, shopping, and so on. Whistlestop’s new volunteer driver program receives its funding from Marin Transit which is the recipient of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s New Freedom Program funding. Those interested in learning more about the Volunteer Driver Program at Whistlestop should call (415) 454-0969.
“What is unique about the Volunteer Driver Program is that it empowers older adults to get out of their homes by connecting with a nearby member of their community—people they already know and have a relationship with,” said Joe O’Hehir, CEO of Whistlestop. “This program enables them to offer a reimbursement to their driver to help offset some of the expense incurred by providing them a ride. It’s especially helpful to the person needing a ride, making it more comfortable when asking friends and neighbors for rides, knowing that they can offer them something in return.”
Geared primarily for medical, shopping, and spiritual purposes to start, this new program is aimed at adults 60 years of age and over, who are frail and/or disabled, living in Marin County, who are unable to use a shared ride service and who can identify a friend, neighbor, acquaintance or caregiver to be their driver. www.thewhistlestop.org
Since 1954 Whistlestop has been a leader in providing value to the Marin County community through comprehensive and integrated services and activities for older adults and individuals with disabilities. One of these services, Whistlestop Wheels, provides buses that run seven days a week from early morning to late night, offering approximately 145,000 rides yearly for all types of needs throughout Marin County and beyond, including ADA service for eligible individuals.
In addition, Whistlestop strives to end loneliness for older adults by providing access to client-centered services and activities that enhance their overall well-being and enable them to live active lives as independently as possible. This includes social activities and educational classes, and many special programs for the Hispanic/Latino, Vietnamese, German, and Farsi-speaking communities. Invaluable services like citizenship assistance and ESL classes (provided for over 500 low-income older adults and their families) are offered as part of Whistlestop’s ongoing programs. Today the bustling Multicultural Department provides more than 2,000 outreach contacts in multiple languages.
Whistlestop’s Jackson Café serves fresh, affordable, and delicious lunchtime meals, Monday through Friday to older adults (including multi-ethnic older adults) and diners of all ages at the newly renovated Jackson Café in downtown San Rafael. The Café features daily special hot entrees, deli sandwiches, pizza, homemade soups, and desserts.
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