- Author: Laurel Schwartz
- Date: November 16, 2023
In Contra Costa County, CA, the Transportation Authority (CCTA) is working closely with county medical facilities, union labor, and private firms to develop innovative mobility solutions.
When Glen retired as an educator from a small rural middle school, he knew that volunteering and service were in his future. The AmeriCorps Seniors program offered him the opportunity to serve his country, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, and improve lives and communities. He wanted to continue his interest in education and youth development by volunteering as a mentor. His challenge was transportation and figuring out how he would get to the volunteer site three days a week.
Like many of his peers, Glen is losing his eyesight, and did not feel comfortable driving an automobile. With his family, Glen decided that driving was not an option along the rural roads of his community
Glen and the director of the local AmeriCorps Seniors program used resources from the National Center for Mobility Management to identify his local mobility management professional. Together, the team reviewed a tool developed by the Federal Transit Administration called the Federal Program Inventory. The inventory includes information about potential transportation services that could be provided by federal programs. The team contacted the individuals who manage these programs to learn what services the program could offer and what kind of financial support was available. Together, they learned that one Federal Transit Administration Program provides grants to some human services agencies that provide transportation services to people with disabilities and older adults. They also learned that funds from these programs can potentially be used as a match to support AmeriCorps Seniors programs, and started to explore the Federal Funding Braiding Guide, a resource to help the field understand braiding—or leveraging—federal funds.
Through a collaborative effort that included the participation of many individuals representing various professional disciplines, Glen was able to identify a transportation service to support his participation as a volunteer in the AmeriCorps Seniors program. The AmeriCorps program established a strong relationship with its human services partner that led to the ongoing sharing of fiscal and programmatic resources. The regional transit office was also helpful in assisting all agencies to understand when funds could be leveraged across federal programs.
Reducing barriers to volunteering and national service—including transportation barriers—is critical to ensure that all people have a chance to give back to their local communities. While the coordination across agencies takes patience, research, and education – the outcome enabled Glen and other older adult volunteers to share their skills and continue to fully participate in the community, avoiding isolation for themselves and making a difference in the lives of youth and others across the community. Without this collaboration, that might not have happened. It’s a great model that can be replicated across the country and among numerous agencies.
Judy Shanley serves as National Director, Transportation & Mobility and the AVP, Youth Transition for Easterseals
Atalaya Sergi is director of AmeriCorps Seniors at AmeriCorps
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