How the ITN began in Orlando, Florida

Planning for an Independent Transportation Network® affiliate in Orlando began in early 2005 in response to information brought to our community by Fran Carlin-Rogers, a national expert on senior mobility issues. Participants in the early planning were AARP, the Senior Resource Alliance (Area Agency of Central Florida, Inc.), the Winter Park Health Foundation and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. The Winter Park Health Foundation funded a planning grant in 2005-2006 and an operating grant in 2006-2007.

Much research was completed and progress made throughout 2005 and into the first quarter of 2006. A steering committee, representing the potential ITN® communities and major stakeholders, held its first meeting on February 8, 2006. As the advisory group for the ITN affiliate, the steering committee formed several subcommittees to focus on initial action items: insurance liability issues, budget and business plan review, volunteer recruitment and retention, fundraising and corporate support, and car donation programs. The service area was defined to include Winter Park, Maitland, Eatonville, Orlando and several adjacent areas, comprising approximately 84 square miles.

The first community forum was held on March 30, 2006, at the Winter Park Civic Center. ITNAmerica President Katherine Freund explained the national ITN network, and how the service started in Portland, Maine. SRA and Winter Park Health Foundation staff updated the public on specific plans for ITNOrlando™ and how the community can support the program. Twenty-five hundred invitations were distributed to area seniors, professionals who work with seniors, senior centers and civic organizations. When the day came, the room was filled. There was great interest from the audience following the presentation and eager anticipation to start this mobility option for seniors in our community.

Further impetus was given to the project when a Senior Mobility Forum was held in June, 2006. Stakeholders from all over Central Florida attended workshops and heard national speakers on the topic of senior mobility. METROPLAN ORLANDO supported ITNOrlando with a grant to assist in planning and recruitment during the early stages.

On August 1, 2006, the first executive director was hired. The number of riding members quickly grew to 50 and the first car trade was completed in August, 2006. The new ITNOrlando staff participated in conference calls with the other affiliates and ITNAmerica as we eagerly anticipated the First Ride Day. Finally, the first ride was taken to the Orlando Fashion Square by Mrs. Rita Levy of the Mayflower Retirement Community on October 26, 2006.

Initial Steering Community

AARP Florida
Mr. Bob Gallo
Mr. Bill Clark

Blind/Visually Impaired Community
Mayor Russ Hauck

Congressman John Mica’s Office
Dick Harkey

Easter Seals
Sue Ventura

Sherron Forte

Hispanic Community
Rev. Santiago Panzardi, Ph.D.

Hospitals/Medical Community
Steve Paquet, Florida Hospital
Tim Forman, Orlando Regional Healthcare

Insurance Industry
Bob Simms

Jim Houser

Orange County Commission on Aging
William C. Coleman

Senior Citizens – Central Florida
Judy Thames

Senior/Disability Community
Nancy Squillacioti

Senior Resource Alliance
Doug Beach, Ph.D.

State Legislature
State Representative Sheri McInvale

Winter Park
Gerald Sutton

Winter Park Health Foundation
Paulette Geller