Our remarkable Intergenerational Literacy Tutoring Program impacts both our older adult population and the at risk elementary school students they serve by creating a bond between them that goes far beyond tutoring. Informally referred to as the "grandparent effect", the program pairs our older adult members with Title One qualified, at-risk elementary school students to help them improve their reading skills, self-esteem and attitudes toward learning. Each volunteer commits to an entire school year, one-on-one with the same student for one hour each week during the school day. Volunteers are provided an intensive two-day training, monthly follow-up touch-base meetings, and reviews with staff. Program is supervised by paid staff coordinator and two part-time assistants. Currently the program is in 103 schools covering 12 school districts in San Diego County. 550 tutors are working with over 800 students (some volunteers tutor more than one student). Tutors tell us they experience a sense of satisfaction and meaning while serving as an Oasis tutor and have shared that "we need the students as much as they need us". Results have been promising as the average student in the program experiences a 20+ point increase in reading level, with most students reaching peer-level reading skill within the year. With numerous requests to expand the program to additional schools, our fundraising goal is to double the number of schools we serve.
For frail seniors and disabled adults who are not able to leave their homes each day due to limited mobility, they rely solely on our Meals on Wheels program. For many of our homebound neighbors, the meal delivered may be the only nourishment and human contact they receive, therefore making this critical service much more than just a meal. Without our Meals on Wheels program, many of our homebound neighbors would find themselves removed from their homes and placed in assisted living facilities, hospitals or nursing homes long before it is necessary. These are our neighbors, many living alone behind doors we pass each day, never realizing that they are perhaps unable to leave without assistance or are hungry and unable to prepare a meal for themselves. With our Meals on Wheels program we are able to enhance the lives of our aging community through nourishment and a daily visit. Therefore, allowing them the ability to remain living independently at home, but not alone.
NEXT Village SF Transportation Program: Helping Seniors age-in-place without worry.
by North East Exhchange Team SF
NEXT Village San Francisco provides seniors with transportation assistance, health and wellness programs, minor home repairs, as well as social, cultural, and educational activities. We focus our services in neighborhoods in North East San Francisco. We offer the chance for seniors to confidently and safely leave home to go to appointments, run errands, and participate in activities that would otherwise be out of reach physically and financially, and bring support into members' homes- organizing, minor repairs, etc.-that would typically not be affordable as an out of pocket expense.
Transportation is our number one service request. Our transportation program arranges for volunteers to provide seniors with rides to doctor appointments, physical therapy, grocery shopping, and to and from NEXT Village social events. Our service area in San Francisco is very hilly, making it difficult for seniors to get around and very few have cars. Buses are often jerky, and many seniors have been injured after a sudden stop, or while boarding or off-boarding the bus. Additionally, seniors are a target for thieves who steal purses and disembark in a flash.
NEXT will match a senior in need with a nearby volunteer and watch a relationship bloom. The senior knows that they can request a ride through our volunteer coordinator, and will, on many occasions, get the same volunteer. This greatly reduces anxiety and stress about needing to go about day-to-day activities without feeling like they are burdening anyone.
When a driver can't be found, we utilize our first-in-the nation partnership with LYFT. We arrange for the ride (many times, we can do so days in advance), contact the driver to inform them they will be picking up a senior and asking them for extra consideration. NEXT will use our transportation fund (funded through small grants) to cover the expense of the ride. This ensures that seniors can get to where they are going without having to own a cell phone, and without impacting their precious financial resources. Between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, we provided over 400 rides and nearly 20% were provided via LYFT.
A grant from GIVE65 would allow us to replenish our transportation fund and to recruit more volunteer drivers to meet increasing demand. Our service area, the northeast corner of San Francisco has the highest concentration of seniors in The City. It has the highest concentration of low-income seniors as well as the highest concentration of ethnic diversity. Most of our members have lived in the area for over 40 years, many in rent-controlled apartments, and cannot afford to move even if they wanted to. Transportation keeps a person engaged and connected and allows them to age where they feel comfortable... home.
Many older adults in Talbot County can no longer drive and require public transportation to get to doctor's appointments. The Brookletts Place Talbot County Senior Center Bus Pass Program currently provides monthly bus passes to residents of Talbot County who require ongoing transportation to either the senior center, medical appointments or shopping. Participants must use the pass at least nine (9) times per month to remain eligible for the program.