Winnebago County covers almost 580 sq miles and has a population base of approximately 167,000 folks. With a variety of excellent transportation services, there still remained gaps in the mobility options for residents, especially when it came to finding transportation options for nights and weekends.
Led by the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission - Feonix has worked with local leaders to bring together transportation options and fill the transportation needs for seniors, refugees, students, and young families.
The Mobility Leadership Circle Members worked with Feonix to establish a new brand for the program in the county. Tying together volunteer, private, and public transportation options - Winnebago Catch-A-Ride seeks to ensure no one is left behind in seeking employment, accessing medical care, or enjoying a night out with family or friends.
Nick Musson & Kolin Erickson
Jason White, Audra Hoy, & Julia Steffes
We are seeking 20 volunteer drivers throughout the county to fill in the mobility gaps for accessing employment, medical care, and education.
Volunteers will receive $0.58 cents a mile and have the flexibility to volunteer when it works best in their schedules.
Questions? Contact the program at:
For more details and to complete our 30 second application process
Deb Martin is a 4 year resident of Oshkosh, WI and in her short time driving for the Winnebago Catch-A-Ride(WCAR) Program she has hypothesized that this type of program may be more effective than expanding bus times/routes. She has also learned about herself - that she likes to encourage the person she is giving a ride to. Imagine if we were all encouraged on our daily commute to work, how much more productive would we be?!
Deb is no stranger to volunteering. She has participated in programs to help refugees, Fill the Gap, at public schools, the library, community advocacy programs, Human Trafficking Awareness, Girl Scouts, and in church communities. Her initial interest in becoming a volunteer driver stemmed from her desire to help address a root cause of poverty - transportation to work, which in turn, helps to lift the community as a whole.
As the WCAR Program is aware, lack of transportation prevents many from better jobs. Deb says “I take it for granted. I drive about 25,000 miles each year.” Often times, people who have ready access to transportation do not think about what their life might be like without it. With more volunteers like, Ms. Martin, helping to lift others to the next level programs like Winnebago Catch-A-Ride can create big change in the communities they serve.
Deb sees the Winnebago Catch-A-Ride Program model going BIG places - “Partnering with companies and being a network of drivers/riders everywhere in the county.”
Are you thinking of becoming a volunteer driver? If so, Deb says “Try it. It is easy and can fit anyone's schedule. You can visit volunteerdriver.org to learn how you can get involved today.
They say in life to look for the helpers, Gary Ormsbee is one of them, he is also a self-proclaimed comic book and super-hero aficionado. Which may be why he has assisted people with various barriers surrounding employment for nearly 20 years. According to Gary, when asked about those barriers, “transportation has always been an issue”. He is excited about driving for the Winnebago Catch-A-Ride (WCAR) Program because he wants to give back to his community and help people get to work. Transportation is important to Gary, because it can decide whether or not someone can work. Even with the skills and desire to do so, without a means to get to work, there is no job.
As a new WCAR driver, Mr. Ormsbee is learning that the Oshkosh community is a very giving place. He hopes and envisions that five years from now, the Winnebago Catch-A-Ride Program will be “at least 10 times larger than what it is right now, with a solid funding base in place.”
Holly has worked for an organization called Make the Ride Happen, a program of Lutheran Social Services, for 15 years, as a Mobility Manager. In this position, she works with clients daily who have transportation challenges. According to Holly, "[transportation] affects people in every facet of their lives". The people she works with include low-income, those who are aging, individuals with disabilities, cancer patients and everything in between.
In her 15 years, she has seen many shifts in technology and available transportation options. Make the Ride Happen offers a transportation call center in which people can call and find out what is available for them to use. For Holly, and those working in similar positions, WCAR is another tool in their toolbox to provide other options for them and get them the rides they need, by using the Mobility as a Service Technology.
Prior to working with Make the Ride Happen, Holly worked in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. Her desire to help others runs deep, inspired by her faith and the belief that most people are good. She is also currently working on a cycling without age program - always looking to fill a need she sees. In the next five years, Ms. Keenan sees the WCAR Program continuing to fill gaps, with a presence in most rural communities.
Cing Hau is a refugee who uses the services to get home safely after work. Ms. Hau is not only a refugee, but a student at Fox Valley Technical College. Without a service like the WCAR Program provides, Cing would not be able to get home from work, and without a job she can not afford to live in the United States. Transportation is so critical to employment and Cing recommends that other people in her situation reach out and ask for help to get to work.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, East Central Wisconsin Planning Commission, Make the Ride Happen, and Feonix-Mobility Rising have joined forces to launch a new volunteer driver program called Winnebago Catch-A-Ride (WCAR).
WCAR is designed to make transportation services affordable to unemployed, underemployed, disabled, and low-income workers. Volunteers with this program can help people get to work in our local businesses, creating jobs, and contributing to our local economy.
AmeriCorps Member & WCAR Project Lead, Ms. Kaylee Lyons says, “with this partnership, we now have technology suited for filling the gaps we see in transportation services and meeting the needs that aren't being met by existing services.” Lyons feels this technology will create a centralized list of transportation providers as well as create an on-demand volunteer driver service. She says, “Winnebago Catch-A- Ride doesn’t want to duplicate the services that are already out there but it increases the access to transportation services”. Lyons expresses her enthusiasm of the benefits of WCAR to the involved communities by stating those who will use this service currently “experience barriers in transportation every day and it affects the way they live their life.”
For more information on Winnebago Catch-A-Ride and how you can become a volunteer driver, visit www.volunteerdriver.org or contact Kaylee Lyons.
Kaylee Lyons, CHES | Phone: 920-232-3030 | Email: KLyons@co.winnebago.wi.us
Visit: https://winnebagowi.qryde.com to get started today.