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N.Va. international organization hailed for supporting older people in need of transport | news/fairfax

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NV Rides won the $5,000 best practice award from the Commonwealth Council on Aging.

Founded in 2014, NV Rides supports volunteer transportation by coordinating rides, marketing, software, volunteer recruitment, and background checks provided to partner organizations in Northern Virginia.

In 2021, NV Rides partners served 926 seniors with a network of 506 drivers and over 20,377 rides, deliveries and tours. Since its inception, NV Rides has provided over 60,000 rides and tours.

“At NV Rides and our partners throughout Northern Virginia, we are honored to be recognized by the council for our network of ride programs that provide essential services to seniors who do not drive,” said Emily Braley, director of the organization.

“At first glance, NV Rides looks like a ride partnership, but it really goes beyond riding,” Braley said. “The simple act of driving someone can foster relationships and engage seniors in their communities. Volunteers and riders forge unique bonds and allow seniors to age in place.

Since the pandemic, NV Rides has pivoted by adding deliveries of essential items like groceries and medication.

The Commonwealth Council on Aging advises the Governor and General Assembly on issues affecting the 1.9 million Virginians aged 60 and over and recognizes organizations whose innovative programs can be replicated across the Commonwealth. Council judges award nominees based on seven criteria, including community impact, potential for replication, innovation, results, and promotion of aging in the community.

The second prize of $3,000 honored a partnership between Virginia Tech and the New River Valley Agency on Aging to match Virginia Tech students and other volunteers with seniors in Blacksburg and the New River Valley. Launched during the pandemic, COVID Companions has helped reduce social isolation while improving students’ perception of aging and seniors.

The third prize of $2,000 recognized Deaf Seniors Stay Connected, a program of the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons. The program offers a free online chat program to connect deaf seniors with college American Sign Language students/interpreters from several mid-Atlantic states to converse and engage each week.

The Arlington Agency on Aging’s “Pop-Up Farmers’ Markets” initiative was among the 2022 competition honorable mention winners. The awards program begins in 2006.

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