Van GO Grants Keep Our Community Moving
What is Van GO?
Van GO originated in 2000 following route cuts and eliminations due to the passage of I-695. At its regular February 3, 2000 meeting, Community Transit’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a staff proposal that six wheelchair accessible minibuses and six 15-passenger vans be granted to qualifying non-profit organizations throughout Snohomish County. The goal was to ease some of the pain for senior citizens, the disabled and youth caused by the service cuts.
Usually, retired Community Transit vans sold at auction, net a few thousand dollars each for the agency. By granting some of these surplus vehicles to community groups, they can continue to provide many times that value in transportation services. Vehicles granted still have several years and thousands of miles of life left in them. The service restored by granting the vehicles back to the community far outweighed the revenue that would have been generated from their sale. In addition, the community attention generated by the grants was priceless to Community Transit. Not only did the agency garner significant media and community attention during the application and grant processes, the receiving organizations were also covered by more than a dozen local newspapers and radio stations. Treasured letters from grateful customers who once again became able to get to church services, medical appointments and other destinations were received by literally all of the organizations. The program is a win-win proposition for both the transit agency that granted vehicles and for the communities they serve.
This valuable community program continues today. Now in its twelfth year, Van GO has granted 116 vehicles that have provided more than 550,000 rides to senior citizens, low income adults, and youth that would have otherwise gone without. These granted vans improve the quality of life for thousands of Snohomish County residents.
2014 Van GO Recipients
Cascade Seniors and Darrington Blue Grass Association (Darrington)
Cascade Seniors and Darrington Blue Grass Association serve the seniors and community of Darrington. They help residents participate in local and county-wide events. They plan to transport residents to events, appointments and jam sessions, providing more than 1,500 trips in the next year.
Compass Health (Snohomish County)
Compass Health provides comprehensive mental health services to youth and adults throughout Snohomish County. With this van they will provide more than 2,600 rides transporting children and adults to appointments, trainings and specialized camps.
Cypress House (Lynnwood)
Cypress House serves high-risk and behaviorally challenged 13-17 year olds by helping these children to build self esteem and social skills. They plan to transport clients to school, appointments, and recreation outing providing more than 10,000 trips over the next year.
Housing Hope (East County)
Housing Hope’s mission is to promote and provide safe, decent and affordable housing to low-income residents. They will use this 12-passenger van to transport clients from Monroe, Sultan, Stanwood and Lynnwood to their College of Hope adult life skills training programs providing more than 2,500 trips in the next year.
Northwest’s Child (Edmonds)
Northwest’s Child serves the special care needs of school-aged children, youth and young adults with severe and profound disabilities. Providing more than 2,300 rides, this van enables the children to be a positive and active part of our community by allowing the freedom to come and go at the level of need and tolerance of the students so they can fully enjoy life experiences.
Smithwright Services (Lynnwood)
Smithwright Services provides residential care and supervision for children and adults with severe developmental disabilities and or autism in community-based housing throughout south Snohomish County. This van will provide approximately 3,600 trips for the children’s program at their new home, Willow House, serving children with severe autism and other disabilities.
Stanwood Community and Senior Center (Stanwood)
Stanwood Community and Senior Centers serves the senior population in this rural community. This van will provide safe, quality door-to-door transportation for the elderly population they serve helping to foster self-sustainability and promote independence. With the 12-passenger van they will provide more than 2,000 trips to activities, medical appointments, shopping excursions and recreation events on a regular basis.
Take the Next Step (Monroe)
Take the Next Step is a grassroots community service organization serving the communities along Highway 2. They provide a wide range of services from home-cooked meals, help for the homeless and support for struggling elementary students. They will use the 12-passenger van to provide more than 2,400 trips transporting community members to trainings, appointments, school and life skills activities.
Volunteers of America Western Washington (Snohomish County)
Volunteers of America provides a wide array of much needed services to the homeless population in Snohomish County. This van will be utilized by several of their housing and transitional services programs providing more than 3,200 trips to family support groups, appointments and field trips.
Wonderland Development Center (South County)
Wonderland’s mission is to empower south Snohomish County families and children with special needs to reach their full potential as they live, learn and play in a natural learning environment. This van will help ensure their clients get the support and skills they need to be successful. Wonderland plans to provide more than 1,600 trips to parent education programs, therapy sessions and family support opportunities.