NV Rides has won the $5,000 first-place Best Practices Award from the Commonwealth Council on Aging.
Founded in 2014, NV Rides supports volunteer transportation through coordination of rides, marketing, software, volunteer recruitment and background checks provided to partner organizations across Northern Virginia.
In 2021, NV Rides’ partners served 926 seniors with a network of 506 drivers and more than 20,377 rides, deliveries and visits. Since its inception, NV Rides has provided more than 60,000 rides and visits.
“We at NV Rides and our partners throughout Northern Virginia are honored to be recognized by the council for our network of rides programs that provide essential services to non-driving seniors,” said Emily Braley, manager of the organization.
“At first glance, NV Rides looks like a transportation partnership, but it really goes beyond driving,” Braley said. “The simple act of driving someone can foster relationships and engage seniors in their communities. Volunteers and riders forge unique bonds and enable seniors to age in place.”
Since the pandemic, NV Rides pivoted by adding deliveries of essential items like groceries and medications.
The Commonwealth Council on Aging advises the governor and General Assembly on issues affecting the 1.9 million Virginians age 60 and older and acknowledges organizations whose innovative programs can be replicated across the commonwealth. The council judges awards nominees on seven criteria, including community impact, potential for replication, innovation, outcomes and promotion of aging in the community.
The second-place award of $3,000 honored a partnership between Virginia Tech and the New River Valley Agency on Aging to pair students and other volunteers from Virginia Tech with older adults in Blacksburg and the New River Valley. Started during the pandemic, COVID Companions has helped curb social isolation while improving students’ perceptions of aging and older adults.
The third-place award of $2,000 recognized Deaf Seniors Stay Connected, a program from the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons. The program provides a free online chat program to connect deaf seniors with American Sign Language college students/interpreters from several Mid-Atlantic states to converse and engage weekly.
The Arlington Agency on Aging’s “Pop-Up Farmers’ Markets” initiative was among the honorable-mention recipients in the 2022 competition. The awards program began in 2006.