Aging Hispanics and Latinos, like many American seniors can feel sadness and a real loss of independence when they are no longer able to drive themselves – be it a doctor’s appointment, the grocery store, or church.
Sadness and concern is often shared by their adult children. Personally, it has been devastating to witness my own aunt (and surrogate mother) Beatriz lose her sight in one eye, and with it her driving privileges. Recalling how she was a source of love and support for my late mother, driving her to chemo appointments while I was away, makes it even more difficult.
Transportation issues are of real concern for the U.S. Hispanic older population, which is projected to grow to 21.5 million by 2060 and is disproportionately affected by poverty.
Luckily, there are nonprofits dedicated to addressing this issue. In this Everyday Heroes Project article, Think Freely Media’s Jes Greene highlights ITNAmerica, a nonprofit dedicated to helping get seniors to their destinations safely. Read Jes’ article about ITNAmerica to learn more.
If you know of a nonprofit organization helping Hispanic and Latino seniors, contact us at TFL@thinkfreelymedia.org.
ITNAmerica Wants Every Senior to Have a Safe Ride
By Jes Greene • November 18, 2016
Katherine Freund’s life changed 30 years ago when an elderly driver ran over her son, giving him a brain injury. Her son recovered, but the incident remained cemented in her memory.
“Right after that I went back to school to study public policy and I realized that what had happened to me, my little boy, and my family was part of something much, much larger,” Freund told Everyday Heroes Radio.
A question nagged her: How could she help?
“My thinking was that if older people had something that did meet their needs, that they would be able to make good choices about whether they should be driving,” Freund said. “It turns out to be absolutely true, people make good choices.”
So, Freund decided to see which ways she could help transport senior citizens. Soon, the Independent Transportation Network (ITNAmerica) was born, built on a model decades ahead of its time. ITNAmerica created a transportation network company, similar to car sharing today, 20 years before companies like Uber appeared on the market.
“We started one as a nonprofit, not a for-profit,” Freund clarified. “We used information technology software to connect the system and we created a model here in Portland. And it was created to be just like having a private automobile at your disposal. It provides service in a car 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can use the service for any purpose. You can go where you want to go and do what you want to do.”
From a small start in Portland to crossing the United States, ITNAmerica is doing good for thousands of seniors.