Volunteers aid Summerlin residents who no longer can drive

They donate their time and gasoline, and they use their personal vehicles.

It’s all to help out those in Sun City Summerlin who no longer drive but have to get to an important appointment, or whose houses require routine handyman help. When needs arise, Sun City Charities aims to be there.

“It’s just neighbors helping neighbors, to help people who don’t drive anymore,” said Michael Lee, president.

Sun City Charities is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In any given month, it has roughly 55 volunteers helping out. Each year, it handles about 600 requests for drives and 400 handyman service calls, it says.

The majority of drives are to get people to doctor appointments and back. Other “drive” calls might be for grocery shopping, banking or pharmacy or to get to the beauty shop. In addition to drive calls, there are handyman calls. The latter might involve screwing in a loose hinge, changing a light bulb or installing a new battery in a smoke alarm. As the volunteers are all retiree-aged themselves, only about half a dozen take the calls that require climbing ladders to access tall ceilings.

“Most people feel pretty good about helping. It’s rewarding,” Lee said. “And you get to know people, hear about their lives. Old people always have interesting things to tell you about their lives. So it enriches your life, I think.”

Jan Oda is one of the people who rely on Sun City Charities’ drivers. She lost her husband, Dick, about eight years ago to lung cancer. Then, last year, she couldn’t renew her driver’s license due to her failing eyesight.

Now, she uses the free service to get to doctor appointments, scheduled as often as three times a month.

“I’m so grateful to them,” Oda said. “It’s a marvelous program. I hope all senior communities have something like this.”

The list of available volunteer drivers is ever-changing. Roughly 20 percent are snowbirds. Others are known to travel extensively. Lee estimated 50 percent of the volunteers handle the majority of calls.

He said some volunteers grow close to those they help and visit them on their own time, without a call for service initiating the trip.

Volunteers determine how much time they can spare.

“Some people only have two days a week that they can help us. Other people are available every single day. It just depends on the person,” said Julie Kisosondi, a volunteer who answers the office phone and schedules people.

This is not an Uber-type service. Drivers do not take people to casinos or the airport, nor do they provide rides to Sun City’s community centers.

“If you’re going to play bridge, then you should be able to get another bridge player to pick you up,” Lee explained.

The farthest drive is perhaps 10 miles, Lee said. There are no day-of calls when someone needs to go somewhere. The organizations requires 48-hour notice to schedule a driver.

“Volunteers have their own lives,” Kisosondi said. “People are not going to sit home and wait for us to call.”

The nonprofit group is totally volunteer-driven. It charges no dues and operates on a shoestring budget. It has no sponsor or corporate host to pay for things such as office supplies or its big-ticket item: liability insurance.

In the early 2000s, the charity nearly shut down for lack of donations.

Kisosondi was staffing the call-in desk when View visited. In between taking calls for service, she shook out the money from a manila envelope and held up the donations: a $5 bill and a $10 bill. Sun City Charities requests donations from those who use its services. They pitch in anywhere from $2 to $12, she said.

“If you were to take a taxi, even a short drive, it would cost you $30 or $40,” Lee said. “So, round trip, $60 or $70. If you did that 500 times, that’s quite a bit of money. And a handyman? It would cost you $50 to $100.”

Having said that, he stressed the group was not out to make money.

“Some people do it to help their neighbor or are just looking for something to do,” Lee said. “… Attrition is always a problem, so we’re always recruiting young people.”

Call 702-254-5831.

Contact Jan Hogan at jhogan@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2949.

Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Driver dies in single-vehicle crash
One person is dead after an early Wednesday morning crash in the northwest valley. The single-vehicle crash was called in about 1:35 a.m. on Jones Boulevard just north of Deer Springs Way, according to Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Robert Stauffer. The driver, who was the only person inside the vehicle, died at the scene.
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services On Thursday, Uber launched its Uber Health platform for healthcare providers. Medical facilities, rehab centers, clinics and hospitals can book rides for patients from a centralized dashboard – no app required. According to Techcrunch, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber noted some 3.6 million Americans miss appointments due to lack access to reliable transportation. Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. Last summer, over 100 healthcare organizations joined the platform during a private beta. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas firefighters put out blaze along Bonanza Road
Las Vegas firefighters put out a blaze that burned for about 15 minutes Feb. 20, 2018, along Bonanza Road, across from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Jeff Mosier/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cabana Market Shooting -- Persons of Interest
On February 3, 2018 at approximately 1:57 p.m., patrol officers were dispatched to a parking lot located in the 3900 block of East Owens Avenue to investigate a report that a man had been shot. Responding officers located an unresponsive adult male suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like