One non-profit organization in Dubuque wants to make sure there is no senior left behind when it comes to getting out and active in the community.
The organization is DuRide, which has been shuttling seniors throughout the tri-state area since 2008. Its brand new executive director Greg Orwoll, formerly of the Dubuque Colts Drum & Bugle Corps, is now looking to expand the program.
DuRide provides low-cost rides for people who are 65-years-old and older.
With more seniors opting not to drive as snowy weather approaches, Orwoll said, DuRide needs volunteers now more than ever, especially as the organization already has a waiting list and wants to grow.
Colleen Zelinsky has been a volunteer driver for DuRide since Feb. 2011.
"I feel like I'm doing something worthwhile with my time," Zelinsky said Thursday, while driving to pick up a DuRide client. "I also like that I can really set my own schedule. Like, sometimes if you're volunteering, you might need to be someplace from 2 to 4 or a set time. This, I can pick and choose what works in my schedule."
DuRide takes seniors anywhere they need to go, from medical appointments and the grocery store to church and social events.\
"Rather than being shut in, staying at home, this allows them to stay active in the community," Orwoll said.
On Thursday afternoon, Zelinsky picked up senior Mary Huber and took her to her weekly hair appointment.
"It makes you more independent," Huber said, "It's safe, and they're very, very prompt, and they get you back. It's very reliable."
She added the drivers, "are always very, very nice."
Huber is one of the more than 200 Dubuque-area seniors DuRide serves.
"A lot of great relationships develop between the drivers and the riders over the years," Orwoll said, "but we really now are starting to get a waiting list of folks who would like to use our service, and we don't have enough volunteers to help everybody."
Dubuque's public transit system, the Jule, also offers service for seniors. Candace Eudaley is the Jule's director of transit operations.
"We're seeing a lot more people who are over 65 wanting to use transit: fixed route and minibus," Eudaley said, adding DuRide is another great way for seniors to get out and about. "And, actually, with what we're doing with our new routes, we're trying to make sure we're serving large independent living [facilities]...for elderly individuals."
"We've got great public transportation in Dubuque," Orwoll said. "The niche that [DuRide fills] is that door-to-door, exactly-on-their-schedule kind of service."
Seniors pay $45 a year to use DuRide's services, plus a certain fee per mile which averages out to be about $4 per one-way ride.
On the Jule, seniors pay $2 per one-way ride for the door-to-door minibus service and $0.50 for a fixed route ride, provided they show their senior pass, which they can obtain at the Jule's main office at 2401 Central Ave.
DuRide offers its private car service 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Since 2008, it has provided more than 34,000 rides for area seniors.
To get more information on volunteering for DuRide, check out its website HERE or call the office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. M-F at 563.451.4999.
Information on the Jule's senior services is available HERE or by calling 563.589.4196.
Monday, September 1 2014 5:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:41:17 GMT
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