How to help
ITNLanier is looking for volunteer drivers and donations.
More info: www.itnlanier.org
Seniors in Hall County will have a new transportation method available in 2015.
ITNLanier, a volunteer-based senior transportation model, is seeking donations and volunteers in order to begin services next July, according to Erika Walker, ITNLanier co-chair.
ITNLanier is a pre-affiliate of ITNAmerica, a national nonprofit senior transportation network. It is designed to replicate the flexibility and independence provided by private car ownership for seniors unable to drive or uncomfortable doing so.
“Basically this is a senior transportation program geared toward 65-and-older folks,” Walker said. “It’s unique because it offers door-through-door, 24/7, arm-in-arm service for older adults and it uses individual cars.”
ITNLanier will be the first of its kind in the state. Currently, it is applying to become a 501c-3 nonprofit and recently raised $10,000 to become a pre-affiliate of the national program, according to board member Vicki Miller.
“The goal is to develop an independent transportation network (ITN) service for the Greater Hall County to assist older adults to remain connected with the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Miller said.
The initiative was spearheaded by Wisdom Keepers, graduates of the leadership program the Wisdom Project for community members age 55 and older.
“A group of folks that are graduates of (the Wisdom Project) decided that they wanted to create a new transportation program to keep people active, healthy and independent as they age,” Walker said.
According to Walker, seniors are the fastest growing population, making services they need more necessary.
“Ten thousand people are turning 65 every day,” she said. “We have a tremendous amount of people that are moving to this area as a retirement area, wanting to live longer and continue to grow in this area. People are living longer, and as a result, more and more of them cannot drive after a certain point.”
Walker said some communities and families do not feel it safe for their seniors to drive. The program will help keep both seniors and roadways safer.
The program not only provides the car service, but drivers can stay with seniors through appointments, walking them through the door and back to help ensure their safety and security.
“It’s a wonderful service and what makes it different from other transportation services is again that we provide that door-through-door, arm-in-arm transportation,” Walker said.
ITNLanier currently needs volunteer drivers and donations. Those interested in helping can visit www.itnlanier.org or go to www.ngcf.org to make a tax-deductible donation.
“Right now we are just working really hard to get things up and running,” Walker said.