Mazzie Nipper and Marv Lamborg a recent trip downtown
this month. Local senior citizens are able to get around town thanks
to the transportation services offered by the Senior Center and
Friends Care Community.
transportation system is more than just a ride for seniors
Its a rainy
Thursday in December when the Senior Centers van pulls into Mazzie
Nippers driveway on High Street. The driver, Marv Lamborg, hastens
to the front door to escort Nipper in a rain cap to the front passengers
seat of the van. They are headed to The Shop in downtown Yellow Springs
for Nippers monthly hair cut.
Nipper is a senior citizen who doesnt drive. A few times a month
she needs to run an errand, buy milk at the grocery store or visit the
doctor, and she doesnt feel like bothering her son, a police officer
in town. So she calls the Senior Center transportation service for a ride,
free of charge, five days a week, to anywhere she needs to go within reasonable
distance of Yellow Springs.
This year the Yellow Springs Community Foundation chose to recognize the
value of the transportation program by offering a $30,000 challenge grant
to Yellow Springs Senior Citizens, Inc. and Friends Health Care Association
to organize a joint transport system for all local senior residents. Leaders
from the two organizations rose to the challenge, and the grant was approved
this month. The Senior Citizens will get $20,000 to purchase a new vehicle,
and Friends Care Community will use its $10,000 toward the purchase of
a new minibus.
Yellow Springs is a small community with two excellent organizations
that provide services to seniors, Community Foundation president
Fran Rickenbach said. We need to maximize the limited resources
we have to coordinate efforts and integrate the delivery of services.
Currently there are 30 drivers, most of whom are retired, who volunteer
a few hours or all afternoon, one day a week or a few days a month to
give their passengers a lift. They pick up prescription drugs, help with
grocery shopping, wait for the doctors appointment to end, all the
while providing companionship for an elder who might otherwise spend a
lot of time alone.
Its so much more than just a ride, Senior Center director
Rodney Bean said. Some people only want to ride on a particular
day of the week because they like a certain driver who treats them special.
The drivers also try to coordinate rides for friends so they can socialize
in the van. And they sometimes take the long road home through Clifton
to catch a glimpse of the fall colors on the trees, Bean said.
The van makes an average of 58 trips a week, and the program serves about
72 people each year. Even with some drivers using their own cars to transport
riders out of town several times a week, not all requests for rides can
be accommodated. With a second vehicle, the van wont be overscheduled,
as it often is now. And if one vehicle stays in town, the other can be
used for out of town excursions for shopping and sight seeing.
After Lamborg sees Nipper safely to the door at the hair dresser, he stops
in the Senior Center to chat with visitors and staff while he waits. The
phone rings several times, and he listens to see if its Nipper calling
for her ride home. Forty-five minutes later, Nippers hair is done
and she is ready for pick up. Lamborg drives up to the curb, helps her
into the van, and escorts her back to her front door. He is done for the
I just try and do whatever I can to help, he says.
For riders with disabilities, Friends Care has a van with a mechanical
lift for wheelchairs. With the cooperative transport system, anyone in
town needing such equipment will have access to a ride. The second vehicle
at Friends Care will allow others to be transported even while the lift
van is being used.
A central dispatch employee will devote approximately 21 hours a week
coordinating the scheduling for all four vehicles.
Well be pooling volunteers and drivers and generally sharing
the responsibility with Friends Care, Bean said.
The challenge grant is one of the biggest onetime grants the Community
Foundation has ever made, Rickenbach said.
The foundation spent a total of $84,000 for 2002, as of Oct. 31, she said.
Greene Metropolitan Housing received $1,260 for its playground on Corry
Street; Kids Voting received $1,000; the Antioch Writers Workshop
received $1,550 to develop a strategic plan for the future; $3,000 went
to the Yellow Springs Mens Group for the Cost of Living Study;
the Miami Township trustees received $1,000 to develop a weight training
program for Miami Township Fire-Rescue; and the Yellow Springs Leadership
Institute received a small amount of start-up funding.
The Community Foundation also donated Volunteer Recognition Mini Grants
to the Yellow Springs Police Department for its holiday clothing drive;
the Emergency Welfare Fund; Yellow Springs High School for its senior
citizens project, the under 10 soccer program; and $1,315 to the Girl
Scouts Buckeye Trail Council for environmental restoration in Glen Helen.
This was the first year the foundation donated capacity building grants
to the Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse and the Glen Helen Ecology Institute
to help those organizations develop donor databases and encourage them
to do their own fundraising.