ITNSantaMonica is holding a 24-hour “Walk for Rides” Tuesday, November 21st.

The purpose of the walk is to increase awareness of and raise funds for the new local office associated with ITNAmerica — Dignified Transportation of Seniors.

The walk will start and end at the ITNSantaMonica office at 1527 Fourth St., and ITNAmerica founder Kathy Freund will be in the Santa Monica area to lead the walk.

Freund will walk a route through Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, and Brentwood for a 24 hour period. Other walkers with sponsors, corporate sponsors, and volunteers to assist with planning this event are sought.

Freund is in Santa Monica to “jump start” the local affiliate of ITNAmerica.

ITNAmerica is a transportation service for seniors that uses automobiles and both paid and volunteer drivers to provide door-through-door service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This community has become the focal point on how to deal with senior drivers,” Freund said. “We want to give hope and the message that transportation options for seniors and the community exist.”

ITNAmerica and ITNSantaMonica are nonprofit organizations supported by membership fees, community support and charitable contributions. ITN (Independent Transportation Network) does not receive any government funding.

Those wishing to help ITNSanta Monica raise funds can walk with Freund for an hour or for the day, enlist friends to sponsor Freund or another walker, become a corporate sponsor or volunteer for the day.

The Center for Healthy Aging began developing ITNSantaMonica early last year, as the first replication of the Independent Transportation Network in the Portland, Maine area.

The Santa Monica-based Center for Healthy Aging was particularly interested in the program because one of its offices is located only a few blocks from the site of the 2003 farmers market tragedy involving an older driver, according to a spokesman.

ITNSantaMonica is designed to most closely duplicate the experience an older adult has driving himself or herself. Rides will be provided in automobiles, anytime and for any purpose.

The rider makes the decision when and where he or she wants to travel, whether or not to share the car with other riders, and whether to call the day they want to travel or make the reservation the day before.

Drivers will provide door-through-door and arm-through-arm transportation and assistance, and will carry packages for riders.

In order to provide rides, ITNSantaMonica needs volunteers and donations of money and equipment.

Information on the walk or volunteering, Teresa Bond, executive director, Center for Healthy Aging, (310) 576-2550 ext. 260 or www.itnsantamonica.org

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