OKLAHOMA CITY — Last week EMBARK launched EMBARK Well, a pilot program to provide free, round-trip, door-to-door service for adults age 60 and older to six approved wellness centers in the metro. The program seeks to help hundreds of Oklahoma City residents who struggle to access health and wellness services due to transportation challenges.
Jerry Odom has been tremendously impacted by the program’s launch. For the past 13 months, Odom has dedicated himself to walking and lifting weights three days a week at the Pete White Health & Wellness Center. During the winter months, he paid someone $10 per week to drive him. In recent weeks, he’s walked the one mile from his house to the center, which gets dangerous as the weather grows warmer.
“I’m so glad this is available,” said Odom. “Having this available is a big blessing, especially for me, since I’m a non-car driver due to a visual impairment. Being able to get to the Pete White Health & Wellness Center to do my regimen without having a heat stroke is important.”
In addition to exercising, Odom also participates in community programs and classes offered at the wellness center. He said he’s grateful for the MAPS 3 initiative that led to the center being built for the community. Odom retired ten years ago, and the center helps him maintain an active lifestyle and sense of community.
“Being part of this center is my social life,” said Odom. “Chores and paying bills get old after a while, so you have to do something to fight isolation.”
EMBARK is actively enrolling participants in EMBARK Well. To qualify, adults 60 and older must live in the service areas of the participating wellness centers. Interested applicants should call 405-297-2583 to complete a short interview to determine eligibility. Reservations are required, and 48 hours notice is requested for service reservations.
Once approved, qualified participants will arrange transportation to their designated wellness center by calling 405-297-2583. EMBARK’s transportation provider, SendaRide, will pick participants up from their front door and take them directly to the wellness center. When it’s time to return home, SendaRide will pick participants up from the wellness center.
“It’s important for us to continually innovate and modernize our services to meet the diverse needs of our community,” said EMBARK’s Director Jason Ferbrache. “ EMBARK Well is a new service that will allow us to make meaningful connections that can positively affect the health and wellbeing of our residents.”
Facilities participating in EMBARK Well include:
Throughout the pilot year, EMBARK will work to identify ongoing funding, including grant opportunities.
EMBARK also supports seniors through its STEP Shopping Shuttle service. STEP provides eligible individuals weekly, round-trip transportation to designated area grocery stores. Contact 405-297-2583 for more information.
O (405) 297-2976
EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City. EMBARK is responsible for providing safe, efficient and convenient public transportation and downtown parking solutions to the greater Oklahoma City area.