SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota and ITN SunCoast have partnered on the fundraising and awareness campaign “Be the One – Let’s Go Places.” The mission of the campaign is to raise money and awareness of the resources available in the community to help seniors or adults with vision challenges, who are limited or isolated because of transportation issues, to have the ability to be engaged and connected in the community.
“Be the One – Let’s Go Places” aims to connect individuals through convenient, affordable and dignified transportation to a variety of community programs and activities. Funds will be raised primarily through the community-wide 2018 Giving Challenge on May 1-2 and each organization is accepting donations directly as well. Programs specifically geared toward seniors will be supported through this effort.
Staying engaged and connected is a crucial part of staying healthy. According to a recent study by researchers from the AARP Public Policy Institute, Medicare spends an estimated $6.7 billion more each year on seniors who have little social contact with others: they required longer hospital stays, are much more likely to require care in a skilled nursing facility, and are one-third more likely to die sooner than peers with similar health, demographic and functional status.
Some of the program components of “Be the One – Let’s Go Places” will include:
• Scholarships for limited income individuals to utilize ITN Suncoast’s transportation services;
• The recruitment of volunteer drivers;
• The creation of new social and educational programs;
• Computer classes for seniors; and
• Support for job-skills training for older-workers going back to work.
Some of the programs will be provided through Goodwill’s Good Neighbor program, which was launched more than 20 years ago to provide community meeting places, free of charge. Goodwill has expanded the program over the years to offer numerous free, instructor-led classes on a variety of topics and volunteer-directed activities, providing a place where local residents can enrich their lives through educational, cultural and social programs. Goodwill Manasota is able to provide these free classes and services to the community thanks to the sales of donated goods.
On May 1, the community is invited to a “Road Trip” event at the Goodwill Corporate Campus from 2-4 p.m. to learn more about the various opportunities that are available to seniors to be engaged and connected in the community. Representatives from more than 30 organizations – who teach Goodwill Good Neighbor classes – will be on hand to offer “speed classes.”
ITN SunCoast and Goodwill have been working closely together since last year, when ITN Suncoast moved into office space at Goodwill’s Honore location in Sarasota. The collaboration was a natural fit as both organizations seek to assist older adults in retaining their freedom, dignity, connections to the greater community, and self-sufficiency.
“It is a privilege and a pleasure to be able to work with iTN Suncoast to help seniors who might be isolated or alone to reconnect with others and the activities they enjoy,” said Veronica Brandon Miller, vice president of Goodwill Manasota. “Given the demographics in our region we know there is a great need for affordable transportation and activities to keep people of all ages engaged. We are looking forward to telling the community more about this program and raising the funds to support it!”
“This partnership is a great fit since Goodwill provides people with education, work, volunteer, and shopping opportunities, while we give them the means to get there,” commented Arthur Lerman, ITN SunCoast’s Executive Director. “We know that transportation is the vital link to taking advantage of the all that our area has to offer and in combating social isolation and loneliness, particularly among seniors.”
For more information about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call (941) 355-2721. For more information about ITN SunCoast, go to itnsuncoast.org or call (941)364-7530.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2017, Goodwill Manasota served 11,672 people, placed 555 people in jobs, assisted 360 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce, and provided 19,540 hours of on-the-clock training for its employees. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 41 million pounds out of the landfill. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.
ITNSunCoast, a local non-profit organization, provides rides to people age 60+ and adults of any age with vision challenges. Our mission is to help individuals maintain their independence and live joyful and meaningful lives by offering a convenient, comfortable and affordable transportation option when driving a car is not sensible or safe. Rides are available for any reason, 7 days a week, at any time day or night, to anywhere within Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Rides are provided by a combination of volunteer and paid drivers who use their own vehicles and provide whatever support our riders need to get from their home to the car and from the car to their destination. We provided 10,000 rides two years ago and are on target to provide 20,000 rides in 2018. For more information, visit www.itnsuncoast.org.