Since 1999, ACF has recognized exceptional volunteer work in Central Texas with the Jordan Award. The annual tradition began with Dr. Wylie Jordan, a friend and supporter of the Foundation since its creation in 1977. In recent years, the Jordan Award has evolved from recognizing individuals to awarding local nonprofits that leverage volunteer work for exceptional results in the community.
This year, we’re excited to announce Drive a Senior, ATX (DASATX) as the 2021 recipient of the Jordan Award! DASATX engages more than 350 volunteers to combat the isolation many home-bound seniors face. Their ever-expanding network helps our senior neighbors live healthy, happy lives by ensuring their continued access to medical care, fresh groceries, tech and home services, and even social engagements. These opportunities decrease the chance of rapid health decline that often impacts isolated seniors, allowing our neighbors to age in place with the support they need to thrive.
Making Volunteering Easy
DASATX uses an advanced online platform that allows volunteers to sign up for rides and services quickly and virtually as it fits in with their schedule. In 2021 alone, DASATX’s volunteer base grew by more than 100 people and provided more than 15,000 rides and services to senior clients.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
DASATX uses grassroots-style organizing to grow and strengthen our Central Texas community, fostering not just mobility but also personal connection for seniors. Their Friendly Caller program pairs each volunteer with several clients to check in with over the phone every month. It’s no surprise to hear that these “phone-buddy” relationships, as Stephanie Lane, Director of DASATX, refers to them, can result in long-lasting, impactful friendships. Lane shared a powerful story with us about the relationships that volunteers can build with their senior community members.
Recently, a client lost her pet rabbit of 10 years and was heartbroken to realize she had nowhere to bury him as she lived in an apartment. “She has a ‘Friendly Caller’ who has become very close with her,” said Lane. Her Friendly Caller knew how important her rabbit, Funny Bunny, was to her and “made arrangements to pick up the client and bunny, drive to her own home, and bury the beloved pet in her own backyard, holding a small memorial service for Mr. Funny Bunny.”
Lane shared that this story “makes all of us at DASATX cry” because it shows how critical the personal relationships formed through DASATX are. The reward of connecting with someone is felt by clients and volunteers alike, as community members of all ages are brought together, enriching each other’s lives more than they ever expected.
How you can support Drive a Senior, ATX
- Become a volunteer driver! The senior population wants to get back to “normal” life, which means going to the doctors and doing their own grocery shopping. Signing up and volunteering is all conveniently done through a smartphone or computer, and there are no minimum time requirements.
- Make a donation! Every gift helps DASATX make a bigger impact by increasing outreach to more seniors in need, growing their network of trained volunteers, and improving their existing programs. For example, in 2022, DASATX wants to purchase an additional van to resume their weekly van grocery trips.