Above / Calling it a “soft launch” on a sunny day, volunteer driver Randall Bernacki assists Minnie Newman into his vehicle as he is set to take her to and from her doctor’s appointment at a regional hospital almost exactly one year ago.

UPDATE, Nov. 1, 2018 / Karen Courney reported more good news about Ride Assist Naperville this morning.

“Just wanted to let you all know, that as of 11AM today, we will have given our 1,000th ride!” said Ashley Abraham for Ride Assist Naperville.

“WOW! You all are amazing!” wrote Sue Shanahan.

“Yay! Excellent!” added Jane French.

Congratulations to all the dedicated folks who have made Ride Assist Naperville a huge success, members of the organization and the community who have been chiming in with best wishes.

UPDATE, Oct. 20, 2018 / Elected officials from Naperville joined forces to donate $4,500 to Ride Assist Naperville (RAN).  Tim Ells accepted the check for RAN just prior to a special panel discussion dedicated to senior citizen issues that was hosted by Naperville City Councilman Kevin Coyne at the Naperville Senior Center in early October.

UPDATE, April 5, 2018 /  “We began providing transportation for seniors living in Naperville in May 2017, wrote Karen Courney. “Our rides are not shared rides. One rider per trip unless a caregiver or spouse goes with. The driver picks up the senior, waits while the senior is with the doctor, then returns them to their home. We ask for a donation of $12.00 for each round trip.  If a senior is financially challenged, there is no fee.”

RAN welcomes more volunteers

As of April 2, 2018, RAN reports 35 volunteer drivers, 216 registered riders and 532 rides year to date.

RAN operates in 4 townships.  Rides provided in 2018 in each township included DuPage Township (3 rides), Lisle Township (44 rides), Naperville Township (419 rides) and Wheatland (68 rides).

Join the RAN team as a volunteer driver, rider, grant writer or worker bee.

For more information, visit www.rideassistnaperville.org or call RAN’s office at 630-864-3087

Karen Courney—one of three founders of RAN with Bev Frier and Jane French—watches as Minnie Newman, age 90, is assisted by Randy Bernacki to begin the first RAN excursion on April 7.

Original Post, April 10, 2017 / A new volunteer driver program called Ride Assist Naperville (RAN) is fueled with enthusiasm to provide transportation for seniors to and from their medical appointments.

The new program is the result of focus groups and surveys of seniors, service providers and caregivers to identify unmet needs of seniors, thanks to the dedication of Karen Courney and Bev Paterson Frier, co-chairs of the Naperville Senior Task Force; and Jane French, chairperson of the Senior Task Force Transportation Sub-Committee.

All three women serve as directors of RAN.

After a year of planning, preparation and a trial run, RAN is ready to provide rides.

Here’s how it will work

  • Schedule a ride via phone call or website at least four days in advance of a local medical appointment.
  • The suggested donation for the ride is $12 per roundtrip. Riders will be invoiced monthly. No cash accepted at time of ride to and from medical appointment.
  • All fully-screened volunteer drivers will be dependable and insured to transport a rider to his or her medical appointment. Drivers will wait with the riders and return them home.

Accepting reservations for rides

Randy provides a helping hand to his passenger all the way to and from the car.

First, however, riders must complete an application and send it in to Ride Assist Naperville.

“It’s important to apply,” said Courney. “We can’t provide service without having the signed application on file. It’s an insurance requirement.”

Applications are featured online at www.rideassistnaperville.org, can be picked up at the Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, Jackson at Eagle streets, or by calling (630) 864-3087 or contacting info@rideassistnaperville.org.

“Edward Hospital…Gretchen Robinson is the contact,” noted Courney, “…is partnering with us to help with the roll out by providing information to their affiliates and the medical practices.”

Courney said she and all the volunteers at RAN are eager to spread the word about the new program.

Volunteers can apply to drive

Volunteer drivers also can apply by submitting an application with driver’s license, insurance card and vehicle information. Every driver will undergo a background check and required training.

“Enthusiastic drivers who volunteer will make a big difference in a senior’s life,” added Courney.

Driver applications also are featured online at www.rideassistnaperville.org.

Did you know? Ride Assist Naperville (RAN) is in the process of becoming operational and is a program of Naperville Seniors in Action (NSIA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. NSIA is a stand-alone corporation that will not receive funding from the City of Naperville. Private donations are welcome to support the program.

Story and photos submitted by Karen Courney.