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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Blount County Office on Aging - SMiles

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Citizen Participation, Human Services, Senior Centers, Seniors, Transportation Assistance

Mission: To improve the quality of life for Blount County seniors by providing courteous and safe door-through-door volunteer transportation to those eligible for the service, enabling them to obtain essential services and maintain their independence and dignity

Results: Since providing the first ride in August of 2013, SMiles has served 477 seniors and provided 31,000 trips.

Target demographics: seniors

Direct beneficiaries per year: 225 seniors by providing over 6,625 trips through the SMiles program.

Geographic areas served: Blount County, Tennessee

Programs: transportation for essential trips to the doctor, grocery store, beauty salon, senior centers, volunteer locations, and other activities and locations the senior feels necessary to remain active participants in our community

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

You meet the most amazing seniors driving for SMiles! I love to hear their stories and learn how they arrived in Maryville, TN - with some of the most interesting careers! Being involved with SMiles from the beginning, it has been exciting to watch this program grow. We now are scheduling around 100 rides per week! It couldn't happen without lots of volunteer drivers, and the best part is that it can be done at my own convenience. I LOVE SMiles!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a SMiles driver. Helping seniors get around makes me feel like I am part of the community we love.

Giving up your driver license is hard. People with slowing reactions and failing eye sight still have to get around. Nothing gives me greater joy than being the eyes of my new friends. In turn they give me interesting stories of the good old days of Blount County. You should become a driver too!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for SMiles and absolutely love it!!! The clients that use SMiles are so thankful for this service. It's a need that most of us take for granted. You only have to do 1 ride per month (but could do as many more as you want) and you pick the ride (rides) you want to do. Most of the rides are very short and the mileage and times are listed for each one. Helping others is always a win!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a gift and great service the SMiles program is for Blount County! It meets the need to maintain independence for so many who are no longer able to drive, and provides an extraordinary opportunity for the drivers to get to know truly amazing seniors in our own neighborhoods.
The added bonus for volunteer drivers is that it is so easy to volunteer!!! It's all done online, so comparing one's personal schedule with available rides is a snap. I can't recommend volunteering as a SMiles driver highly enough. You won't be sorry you did.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe in sharing talents. SMILES keeps growing. It provides more opportunities to serve. It also provides an action plan for SMILES drivers days & weeks in advance. So filling needs of clients & drivers is a good thing. Great program for all!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is a wonderful feeling to know you are making a person's day a little brighter. I have been with SMiles since the beginning in 2013 and have met many folks who are very close to my age and they appreciate talking about the OLD days! And sometimes being asked to do an odd little job for them which turns out to be a bigger help in their eyes than you would ever expect! All are very appreciative and it means we must keep going with this great program.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an extremely well coordinated and run program with effective service to a great group of riders who share their knowledge of Blount County's back roads, eating establishments and events. As somebody "new" to East TN, this has been a great learning and giving opportunity.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Smiles is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the Blount County community. I enjoy meeting all of the seniors and learning more about their lives, and the flexibility that I have as a volunteer is unmatched. I can schedule rides around my work schedule, something that I have not been able to do with other volunteering opportunities. Please consider this very worthwhile organization!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I want my life to count for something before I pass on. I want to leave the world a better place because of the life I gave to it. As a Smiles volunteer driver, I have many opportunities to render service to those who need essential transportation for all of life's necessities, including medical appointments and weekly medical procedures or even grocery shopping. Many of these individuals are isolated and have little contact with either friends or neighbors. Many have long histories of major accomplishments in professional and civic careers. Many were world travelers. I enjoy swapping stores with them. I enjoy their company. When I leave them, I know I have done a good thing for one more day. There is no better reward!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer since October 2013, And feel very blessed to have found this program. I enjoy my riders so much. I love hearing their stories about their lives and telling my storie. Every rider is so appreciative and grateful for the Volunteers and never fail to say so. I feel I've made some very special friends thru this program. Thank you Amy and Joni for all you do to make this program a success.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with Smiles since it started up. The program has grown steadily and we have quite a roster of riders now. I hear lots of positive comments from the riders, and no complaints. They really appreciate the service, I hear that constantly.
These folks are like aunts and uncles that I don't happen to be related to. I can be a lot of help to them without inconveniencing myself. Just furnishing them a reliable ride takes a big worry out of their life. Helping with their groceries or sitting with them in a doctor's waiting room is not a big thing to me, but it can be to them. There's a nice feeling that comes to me from volunteering my time.

4 toobusyvol

Board Member

Rating: 5

SMiles is such a godsend to our senior community. Not only is it growing by leaps and bounds, but the program always seems to bring a Smile to the faces of both the driver and the passenger. As a driver since the program began, I have met some of the nicest people - some who have lived here his or her whole life, but lots of newcomers to our community. The backgrounds are fascinating, and I always look forward to meeting another new friend through SMiles!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Some things I appreciate about being a SMiles volunteer: 1.) We were carefully screened and qualified before being allowed to carry anyone. 2.) We can carry or not carry anyone. 3.) We can take as many or as few trips as we want. 4.) Every rider knows the value of this service and is extremely appreciative. 5.) As you get to know the riders you hear a lot of fascinating stories. 6.) It's a great feeling to be able to be part of a service that has been desparately needed in Blount County. 7.) The administrator, Amy, is a fantastic resource for the program. Her ability to communicate, to encourage, to plead when necessary and to be a steadying influence for this program while under a fair amount of pressure to get everyone taken care of is truly exemplary. SMiles Rocks!!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi, I am a SMILES volunteer driver, being one of the originals when the program began here in Maryville, TN Oct. 2013. I truly enjoy picking up & talking to ALL of the riders I help. It is such a blessing to be able to assist our seniors here driving them to their doctor appointments, as well as taking them to the grocery store or beauty shop. They are VERY grateful for everything we do for them.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I completed the training about 3 months ago and have tried to do one trip a week since. So far I have had nothing but good experiences. In fact, I think the rides have often been more beneficial to me then to the ones riding. I have not had one rider who did not appear to be very appreciative and often I have learned much from the knowledge they have shared with me from their life experiences.

4 Brenda80

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for SMiles is easy and very rewarding! I have a full time position running a company and I travel for business but with SMiles I was able to volunteer on my lunch hour. This is the one non-profit agency that you can arrange around 'your' schedule. Just check the rides that are available and then select the ride that best suits your schedule. Again, it is easy and very rewarding....and we need more volunteers!

3 Flo S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for SMiles and love it. You meet the nicest people and they are so grateful to have a ride to doctor appts and grocery stores, etc. You are able to pick the rides that you can do weekly and if something comes up and you can't do it, the SMiles people are very helpful in filling the ride. It helps your own self-esteem knowing you are helping others too.