12/18/2019 0 Comments
ITNNorth Jersey is a four-year-old program that relies on volunteers to drive older adults and those with visual impairments to the places they need – or want – to go.
Unlike other services for older adults, ITN doesn’t restrict destinations to more urgent needs such as health
appointments and grocery stores. Instead, older adults can arrange for a ride to and from a wide variety of destinations – a hair salon, a movie theater, a friend’s house or their house of worship. Volunteers pick members up at their door and escort them into the door of the place they’re going, making the service a good option for those too unsteady to take a taxi or public transportation.
Since it was founded, ITN NorthJersey’s 116 volunteer drivers have provided more than 25,000 individual rides. But until recently, Teaneck residents had not been able to sign up for ITN service.
“We really can’t start service in a new community until we have enough volunteers to support the requests for rides we would get from its residents,” said ITN Community Development Director Mary Lyons-Kim.
Jamie Elkin, a member of Age-Friendly Teaneck’s health and social engagement task force, is one of several Teaneck drivers. “I’ve driven some of the nicest people,” said Elkin, who said she enjoys conversing with the older adults and knowing she is helping people who would otherwise be isolated at home.
Volunteering for ITN is manageable, Elkin said, because there is no set schedule. Instead, ITN keeps a database of ride requests and volunteers can check it to see if they can accommodate someone.
“There’s no minimum time requirement for our volunteers,” Lyons Kim said. “We have volunteers who drive six times a day and others who only have time for one ride a month.”
With some new Teaneck volunteers having recently signed up, ITN can now accommodate a handful of Teaneck residents. To enroll as a client or to volunteer, you can contact ITNNorthJersey by calling 201-398-6885 or logging onto www.ITNNorthJersey.org
Who We Are
Age-Friendly Teaneck formed in 2016 with this mission in mind: A great place to grow up should be a great place to grow old.