Would you like to make a change in other people's lives in the community? MyRide TN Southeast is hosting a launch event for its new volunteer driver program to aid seniors on Aug. 30, from 1 to 3 …
Would you like to make a change in other people's lives in the community?
MyRide TN Southeast is hosting a launch event for its new volunteer driver program to aid seniors on Aug. 30, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Occurring at the Cleveland Bradley County Chamber of Commerce, the launch features a call to action at 1:30 p.m. to be delivered by Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis.
MyRide TN is a part of the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability, for which Christin McWhorter is a community outreach manager.
“The MyRide program is new to this area. There has been about a year of planning to start this off,” McWhorter said.
MyRide serves as a door-through-door transportation for senior citizens through volunteers, who take the seniors to doctor visits, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.
The organization began by going through a steering committee, which determined the best ways to implement the program. The Southeast division was thankful to have received a grant from the Southwest division of Area Agency on Aging and Disability, which was given the green light to expand the program throughout the state of Tennessee.
While volunteer transportation has been a Tennessee option for quite a while, MyRide began around two years ago through the Southwest program.
“Bradley County is the first county in Southeast Tennessee that we are introducing the program to, but we plan to go to Hamilton County as well,” said transportation coordinator Jill Hale. “We are so close to launching this.”
The organization is seeking volunteers who can commit to a three-hour commitment each month. These hours involve picking up the rider, staying with them throughout their necessary visits and returning them home.
Hale explained when MyRide TN first came to the area, no one had heard of it, so raising awareness of the program has been a large objective for the organization.
“The need is there. There are a lot of older adults with issues, be it vision or health, in our community who need rides, so our biggest goal is finding our volunteers,” McWhorter said.
As a way of increasing awareness, MyRide workers have been attending various community functions.
The volunteer launch event will test the effectiveness of the group’s awareness campaigns. Mix 104.1 will be broadcasting live from the Chamber throughout the event. Refreshments will be provided by Jenkins Deli and various door prizes will also be awarded.
Hale hopes the event will show the organization’s transparency and encourage community members to give a little bit of their time to the cause.
Both women said everyone may need this type of service at some point in our lives, so volunteering may aid you in the long run as well.
“This program lets you help the community now, but also helps you plan for your future,” Hale added.
McWhorter stressed the community bonds formed through such a program, as Bradley County residents will be helping other Bradley County residents and strengthening community trust.
Senior riders are also encouraged to attend the launch event in order to meet potential drivers and the faces behind MyRide TN.
For those wishing to join MyRide TN as a rider, you need only pay an annual fee of $25. Donations are also accepted, as they can go to sponsor a senior who may not have access to these funds. Each ride only costs $3.
If interested in being a volunteer driver, you must undergo a background and criminal check following an interview. Volunteers will also go through two hours of training to understand service etiquette and be trained in the program’s software.
McWhorter said potential volunteers could be recent retirees, teachers who have extra time in the summer, real estate agents and really anyone who has a flexibility of time in their schedule.
To learn more, Hale can be reached at 423-424-4201, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The organization’s website can be found at www.setaaad.org.
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