I was recently asked “What does iTNSunCoast do?” and “How did we spend the money contributed to us during the Giving Challenge last year?” I hope they asked because they are considering making a donation to us during the 2016 Giving Challenge in September.
The short answer is that we are a local non-profit organization that provides rides mostly to individuals in their 80s and 90s at any time during the day or night, on any day of the week including weekends, to anywhere within Sarasota and Manatee Counties, for any reason. I emphasize any reason because we give rides for anything you can image (legal, of course) like yoga class, the hair salon, medical appointments, shopping, the theater, lunch with friends, birthday parties, etc.
Our mission is to help individuals maintain their independence and live joyful and meaningful lives through a convenient, comfortable and affordable transportation option when driving a car themselves is not sensible or safe. Using mostly volunteer drivers using their own cars, we will provide over 10,000 rides this year.
That said, the real answer is reflected in the difference we make for the individuals we are honored to serve.
An 84 year old woman relied on her husband for rides. He became terminally ill and entered a residential hospice program. The woman had no way of visiting her husband. iTNSunCoast gave her rides every day for 6 weeks until her husband passed away.
An 82 year old woman is the primary caregiver for her husband who has a chronic illness. The husband was the primary driver. The woman uses iTNSunCoast for rides to get a break from her caregiving role. This helps her be better prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally to meet the needs of her husband.
A couple moved to the Sarasota area a few years ago shortly after retiring. It was their dream come true. Within six months of moving here, the husband died unexpectedly. A few months later, the woman was diagnosed with a serious illness that required active treatment and prevented her from driving herself. She had no family or friends in the area for support. iTNSunCoast provides rides to her to medical appointments and shopping. One day we asked, if she could do anything, what would it be? She explained that due to her illness her life had become exclusively about going to medical appointments and that she would give anything to be able to go to a movie and afterward to get a burger and a beer. Within three days we gave her the rides necessary to fulfill this wish. The experience had a profound effect on her attitude toward life giving her hope that her life could again be joyful.
A woman in her 50s has a full-time job as well as being the caregiver for her mother. As the result of her mother experiencing the onset of dementia, the women was no longer comfortable leaving her mother alone all day in their home. She now provides her mother rides to an adult day program on her way to work and iTNSunCoast gives her mother rides home from the day program every day so that the mother is only alone at home for a few hours before the daughter returns from work.
We also provide rides to people with vision impairments going to job training programs at Lighthouse of Manasota and work related rides to individuals with unique abilities.
Through our Road Scholarship program, we give rides at reduced rates to individuals on limited incomes. This now accounts for nearly 15% of our rides and would be more except for a moratorium on new people in the program due to our own financial limitations. Many of these individuals are in their 80s and 90s and never expected to be in the financial position they are experiencing. We know that there are many people in Sarasota and Manatee Counties who could benefit from the Road Scholarship program and are eager to make it available once we have the financial resources to do so.
This is who we are!
This is what we do!
Thank you for your past support and please donate to us during the 2016 Giving Challenge!