Niwotians will agree that Rock & Rails is a great way to bring the community together each week, hear some killer live music and tuck into delicious, local grub. But what’s even more special about this beloved neighborhood event is the amount of money it raises for local charities each Thursday.
Half of the tip jar proceeds from the upcoming July 18 Rock & Rails concert will go to Via Mobility. This Boulder-based non-profit provides residents with limited mobility a convenient, reliable way to live more self-sufficiently. This caring organization has served residents within the Boulder-Denver metro area since 1979 and shows no signs of slowing down.
Many of us take our mobility for granted. We fail to realize that hopping in the car, ordering an Uber, or even boarding the correct bus can be a huge obstacle for many of our community members, sometimes even impossible for certain people to do alone.
Via Mobility seeks to put power back into the hands of older adults, disabled persons or those with mobility limitations. Isolation and dependence take their toll both mentally and physically. “Via Mobility provides ‘door-through-door’ transportation, with trained drivers making sure people traveling not only get to the door, but get through the door of their destination,” board member Biff Warren said. “It’s much different than a taxi, or an Uber. And the cost is something that people can afford. A one-way trip within a community costs the rider five dollars, while a trip between towns costs $10 one-way. Reduced fares are also offered to people who qualify.”
The actual cost to the non-profit of providing a one-way trip is much greater, running upwards of $35 per trip. The organization relies on fundraising efforts to help close the gap. More areas along the Front Range are in need of this service, however, Via’s ability to expand relies on money. Lyndsey Morse, communications manager for Via, states “The need (to expand) is there and growing but unfortunately we are maxed out. We provide as much service as we possibly can but there's always more people that need us than we are able to serve every year.”
Via Mobility, or Special Transit as it was known up until 2012, received initial funding through the Boulder County Commissioners to coordinate and provide efficient, reliable transportation throughout Boulder County for residents with limited mobility.
Since then, the non-profit grew from a meager budget of $50,000 per year to a multi-million dollar yearly budget. Now, Via Mobility serves 19 communities across five counties.
Its core principles state that every person matters and movement is a basic human right. Via Mobility puts the power back in the lands of those with limited mobility by giving them back a fundamental right — the right to mobility. Morse believes the best part about this organization is offering this kind of independence, “It really means so much to people to be able to have the freedom to access whatever they need to on their own, without having to rely on others.”
For those looking to get involved, Via Mobility is always seeking reliable volunteers to serve as drivers for senior citizens and disabled persons. It also provides career options for those looking to work in the meaningful, non-profit sector. Or, if you simply want to help, drop a few bucks in their tip jar next Thursday night.