GetAbout provides crucial service for STAR clients
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GetAbout typically provides over 50 door-to-door rides per day to New Canaan residents who are unable to drive themselves to doctors’ appointments, grocery stores and personal care appointments. Many of the riders on any given day are STAR clients who live at the South Avenue cottage in New Canaan or who are participants at STAR’s newly opened office at 111 Elm Street. GetAbout provides their transportation to and from their home or the office to New Canaan jobs and local volunteer work.
Judy Fuegner, chief dispatcher and driver for GetAbout, says that the STAR clients are very good about calling to schedule their rides themselves and have developed a nice rapport with all of her five paid, professional drivers. “Our STAR friends set a great example to the community as courteous and polite. They call well in advance to reserve a ride and always call if they have to cancel,” says Fuegner. The drivers maintain a well-cared-for fleet of six vans that are all equipped with wheelchair ramps. “My driver is very nice and always waits for me,” says Todd McInerney of New Canaan.
Fuegner enters the schedule each day into a cloud-based program that the drivers access on their individual tablets so they know their routes for the day. Fuegner says it still takes a lot of communication to manage such a busy schedule that seems to be ever changing. STAR’s director of Day Services, Kari Ryan shares the feelings of her associate, Cheryl Bergstrom, STAR’s director of Residential Services that, “GetAbout’s transportation services provide a critical and much-appreciated link to local opportunities, inclusion and independence for all of our neighbors — especially those with special needs and challenges.”
GetAbout is a non-profit organization formed in 1980 by a group of civic-minded New Canaan residents to provide door-to-door transportation to seniors and other New Canaan residents who are unable to drive.
GetAbout provides almost 10,000 complimentary rides annually in vans specially equipped to carry passengers who use wheelchairs and their aides for activities within New Canaan, and medical appointments in New Canaan and surrounding towns. Paid drivers are licensed and rigorously trained to provide excellent service to transport passengers and are experienced in providing safe and on-time rides to scheduled appointments and treatments at local hospitals and medical offices. Residents of any age who have experienced injuries, or are unable to drive for any reason, can rely on GetAbout for transportation during their period of need.
STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way is a not–for-profit organization established in 1952 to serve individuals of all ages who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as providing support services to their families. STAR creates opportunities for individuals to live full lives with independence, freedom of choice and personal growth by providing support, services and advocacy. STAR’s customized employment program for people with I/DD leads the state in job placements and hours worked. Likewise, STAR’s birth to three programs continues to exceed state and local average results with 100% of the children reducing the gap, and 93% caught up in developmental milestones.
Headquartered in Norwalk and with new offices at 15 Cross Street, Norwalk and 111 Elm Street, New Canaan, STAR annually serves over 600 individuals from birth through their senior years in Fairfield County. They aim to inform and encourage the community to recognize and appreciate the value of all individuals.
For more information about STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way, or to volunteer or donate, visit www.starct.org.