City of Pittsfield RSVP Program – Pittsfield, MA
Wheels for Wellness exemplifies two promising practices: cross-sector collaboration and building on existing assets. When deciding what type of transportation program to pilot, the partners selected a volunteer driver program because it built on what they identified to be the county’s assets: an older population, a high rate of car ownership, and a strong regional culture around looking out for each other. They then looked to existing volunteer driver programs in the region to see how they might scale these local and regional initiatives. A regional volunteer driver program run by an all-volunteer healthcare facility in Southern Berkshire County inspired them to serve the entire county. They then identified the Pittsfield RSVP program as having potential to scale up its operations.
NCMM's Promising Practices Database
SeniorCare Inc., Medical Transportation Program
Service: Medical Transportation Program
Provider organization: SeniorCare Inc., Gloucester, MA
Funders: SeniorCare Inc.; U.S. Department of Human Services (Title 3 funding; private donations)
Partners: AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP volunteersLocal councils on aging, local transportation agencies,
About the Project
Description: SeniorCare is the Area Agency on Aging for nine towns north of Boston. With a combination of Title 3 funding and private donations, they operate a volunteer driver program for medical transportation, using AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP volunteers. Recognizing that they would not be able to fill all trip requests with just their volunteer driver program, they also set out to become knowledgeable about other transportation options in the region, and to share that information with their riders. SeniorCare began by reaching out to area Councils on Aging and the local transit authority to learn about their transportation services. They compiled a town-by-town listing of transportation resources, posted on the SeniorCare website. To keep the information up to date, SeniorCare does regular outreach. When a new caller requests a ride, SeniorCare’s Transportation Coordinator discusses all transportation options appropriate for them and mails them a welcome packet with that information.
Impact: Ruth Lindsay, RSVP Director at SeniorCare: “We never want to say we can’t help someone. If someone calls us needing to get to their chemotherapy appointments, we would have a difficult time doing that because we don’t have enough volunteers — so what we’ll do is we’ll identify another program that could work for them, tell them about that program, check with the consumer if they are interested in that option, and then we’ll assist by giving them either the phone number to call the program or we’ll offer to have the program call them to work it out.