By: Georgia Lobb
Earlier this week, we posted about about how Connecticut seeks to improve safety for vulnerable users.
We mentioned a new program called Rides for Ridgefield, which is an organization that is hoping to improve the quality of life in Ridgefield, CT, by offering a variety of option for senior citizens who can’t drive on their own anymore. We got Grace Miller, a head of the new program, to chat with us about her hopes and expectations for the future of Rides for Ridgefield. Here’s what she had to say:
Transportation for senior citizens in Ridgefield, CT, is about the get a lot easier.
Starting May 1st, a program called Rides for Ridgefield will begin running throughout the town in order to make life better for seniors who have surrendered their car keys.
It’s a cause that matters a lot to Grace Weber, who helps run the organization. She’s also the director of Ridgefield’s Founder’s Hall, which is a recreation center for people aged 60 and older.
“It will (as of May 1, 2013) function through a Mobility Management Center located at Town Hall,” said Ms. Weber. “It will provide a single source for Ridgefield ride information, counseling for the more than 4000 senior and mobility disabled residents regarding transportation needs and available options, and a centralized reservation assistance service. The Center will organize and maintain service information provided by our alliance partners, current providers of transportation services for Ridgefield senior and mobility disabled residents.”
The program will surely make an impact on the quality of life for Ridgefield seniors, who make up about 14% of the town’s population. It will be available to all seniors and mobility-disabled residents of the town.
Ms. Weber said she was inspired to get Rides for Ridgefield up and running because there were big gaps in the existing transportation options for senior citizens and she wanted to do something about it.
“Our hope for Rides for Ridgefield is to ensure that Ridgefield senior residents and residents with mobility disabilities have access to transportation that is affordable, acceptable to the rider, adaptable to rider needs, and allows access to all the activities and services that are needed to maintain quality of life,” Said Ms. Weber.
The program will rely largely on volunteer workers. The organization is extremely new, and therefore rather small. Since the first Rides for Ridgefield meeting, “the original six-member task force has expanded to a working group of over 25 committed volunteers representing those groups,” said Ms. Weber.
As the organization continues to gain publicity and users, Rides for Ridgefield will more need volunteers to serve as drivers, teachers, public outreach, to answer phones, and to provide counseling.
While Ms. Weber suggests that the program won’t be fully functioning until about a year from now, she’s optimistic about the future. “Our expectation is that Ridges for Ridgefield will have a positive impact on the quality of life for its users,” she said. “Those we’ve spoken with are looking forward to using the service and feel it will offer a meaningful improvement to their quality of life.”
To learn more about Rides for Ridgefield, contact Grace Weber at RidesforRidgefield@RidgefieldCT.org. You could be their next volunteer!