Senior Center’s November volunteer of the month, Frank Bass (left), is a valued member of the center’s MyRide program. On the right: The very first MyRide rider, Shirlene Moffett, is assisted by then volunteer driver, Dr. John Payne. The program continues to serve area residents and is funded through grants and donations. Submitted photo.
By Meg Dickens
MyRide Tennessee, Johnson County quietly hit a monumental milestone earlier this month. After providing friendly services for the community for what feels like forever, the organization hit its third anniversary. Along with this being a significant accomplishment, it was also a deadline set by original funding guidelines to provide so much service. As those familiar with the program know, MyRide met these goals less than a year after starting.
Within the last year, volunteer driver numbers have shrunk from 22 to 19, while riders have skyrocketed from 57 to 83. According to MyRide Coordinator Danae Watson, the organization desperately needs more volunteers to help manage the demand. Since MyRide Tennessee Johnson County began on November 5, 2018, volunteer drivers have driven over 31,000 miles while giving 3,323 rides to seniors.
Although the volunteer numbers are small, the drivers make up for it with commitment, charity, and heart. Drivers take seniors all around the area but often do more than that. When helping proposition the county for more funding, one rider described his frequent fishing trips with his driver. These volunteers often do unique trips such
as this, help with grocery shopping, and even wait with seniors at doctor appointments.
“Without this amazing team, we couldn’t help as many people as we do,” Watson previously explained. “I never knew there were so many nice people just looking for somewhere to volunteer or somewhere to help.”
After three years, Watson reports that not one driver has asked for gas money reimbursement, although they know they can. The large amount of volunteer work and its monetary value is a significant part of what the organization intends to focus on in its sustainability plan. Meetings discussing this for the next fiscal year have already commenced.
MyRide hopes to be around for the foreseeable future. Anyone who is 60-years-old or older in need of transformation help can reach out to sign up today. For more information about the MyRide Tennessee Johnson County, to enroll, or start volunteering, call (423) 460-6012.