Accessible Activity Van and Bicycle Rickshaws for Residents & Clients

By Tammy Malewski, Marketing & Development Director at Valley VNA Senior Care


Our First VAN at VNA

It’s been such a happy time at Valley VNA these days. After months of fundraising and research we were proud to accept delivery of our first-ever fully accessible activity van for residents. The 2016 ARBOC Spirit of Freedom van is a 15-passenger van whose low-ride design has a ramp for passengers to easily get into the van weather they are walking on their own, with a cane or a walker, or in a wheelchair.   We are in the midst of decorating the van with our VNA logo and training staff members as drivers and expect to take our first resident excursion within a few weeks.

This is a wonderful gift of mobility, as our residents and clients will now be able to attend more events and programs in Neenah. (Think concerts, holiday light tours, veterans programming, picking up In-Home Care clients for activities at Valley VNA, or Dairy Queen ice cream trips!)

Our own ARBOC Spirit of Freedom van will soon be decked out in the Valley VNA logo and taking residents to programs and events around the community. This is Valley VNA’s first resident activity van.

We are very grateful to these generous donors who helped us secure our beautiful new van: Galloway Company, the Robert Arndt Family, the Schmerein Fund from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley, the Robert L. Keller Fund from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley, the George & Gussie Balck and Art & Mary Leske Charitable Fund from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley, the Cathryn Probst Fund from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley, the Lucille and Edward Plashko Fund from the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, and the Guenther-Motz Trust Fund from the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

Valley VNA is still in need of grants and donations to offset the purchase of the van.  It was purchased for $80,000 and we have raised approximately $35,000 to date. If you are interested in making a contribution, please contact me, Tammy Malewski at or call (920) 727-5555. Thank you for understanding the importance to getting out and staying engaged with our beautiful community, no matter our age or ability.

Become a Bike Pilot with our New Bicycle Rickshaws

Soon residents of Neenah will see shiny new red pedal-powered rickshaws gliding around town. One or two riders will experience the wind in their hair as a trained volunteer bike pilot smoothly coasts them along sidewalks, city streets, and trails.

Photos courtesy of Cycling Without Age

Valley VNA is recruiting volunteer bike pilots for our two new bike rickshaws. Please contact Carrie Esselman at or call Valley VNA at 727-5555 to learn more.

Technically called trishaws because of their three-wheeled construction, the bikes are part of a new program of Valley VNA and Cycling Without Age, the brainchild of a Danish man who wanted to help seniors get back to the joy of bicycling. But the best part is the rides go far beyond a few new bikes. It’s about getting outside, exploring the community we love, seeing active and happy people at work and play, and participating in the city and nature the way we used to, when we were younger and more mobile. Just think what it would be like to experience the wind in your hair after so many years without that feeling. It’s exhilarating! (Bike helmets are available to our residents.)

The global Cycling Without Age program is based on core values of generosity and multigenerational relationships. Volunteer bike pilots are trained to take less-able people out for bike rides. Their training encompasses safety, approved bike routes, and how to facilitate the emotional connections and storytelling that make these experiences meaningful for young and old. The rickshaws are primarily for the use of Valley VNA residents and in-home care clients, yet Valley VNA plans to offer public rides this summer at special events around Neenah.

Photos courtesy of Cycling Without Age

Valley VNA was able to purchase two rickshaws from Denmark and enroll in the Cycling Without Age program thanks to the generosity of the Menasha Corporation Foundation and Fox Cities Greenways. We are working with the East Central Regional Planning Commission to choose bike routes and partnering with the Wisconsin Bike Fed to train volunteer pilots on safety.

Become a Bike Pilot and Pedal Some Joy

Valley VNA’s rickshaws arrive this month and volunteer bike pilots are needed. Pilots go through training and make themselves available on their own schedules to take elders out on rides via a web-based sign-up. To learn more about how to become a bike pilot, please e-mail Carrie Esselman, Valley VNA Life Enrichment Program Manager, at or call Valley VNA at 727-5555.