Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Cheer

Season’s greetings!  Instead of composing our own holiday message for all of you, we thought we’d share a couple of the thoughtful cards we’ve received from appreciative clients.

This first card was received from 89-year-old Jean A.:

It reads, "Many thanks to each and every one of you for the
wonderful service.  It is appreciated so very much."
The front features an adorable penguin.

This second card arrived with a tasty box of chocolates for our staff:

This card features the dove, the
universal symbol for peace.
It reads, "Thank you for your kind help this past year -- for
the invaluable services you provide.  All the best to you
and blessings in the New Year."

Let us all keep the holiday spirit alive through our compassion, generosity, hope, and love during this special time of year!
Friday, December 14, 2012

Luncheon Recap

Last year, whether driving their own vehicles or agency vans, volunteers from Senior Services’ Transportation Program covered over 568,255 miles and donated 55,444 hours of their time. After so much valuable service to our community, it was time to celebrate!

Cindy Zwart, Director, commends volunteers for
their generosity and kindness.
The Transportation Driver Appreciation Luncheon provided the opportunity for us to express our gratitude (once again) for the dedication and contributions of our compassionate volunteers. As our drivers from throughout King County gathered together, they built community with one another, recognized their collective accomplishments, and reinforced their commitment to helping local seniors.
Joy Kamstra receives recognition for
her impressive 25 years as a volunteer driver.
Cindy Zwart, Transportation Program Director, opened up the event by speaking about random acts of kindness, or "selfless acts performed by a person wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person." She informed the volunteer drivers, "Whether it be simply holding the door open for a slow-moving client who uses a walker to get around, taking the time to listen to the stories of a senior who is homebound and isolated, or making extra stops at a pharmacy or grocery store, just being there to offer a helping hand, friendly conversation, or moral support means the world to our clients."

Jack Langlais proudly displays his door prize.
After Cindy's heartfelt reflection, we honored drivers celebrating milestone anniversaries. Volunteers who’d been with the program for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years were presented with tokens of appreciation, allowing us to recognize their outstanding service and lasting positive impact. Door prizes were given to lucky drivers, helping create an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement.

All in all, it was a memorable and uplifting occasion—one clearly embedded with the themes of celebration, appreciation, and inspiration.

We’d like to thank the following sponsors who helped made this successful event possible: Garlic Jim’s, Walgreen’s, Office Depot, Seattle Chocolates, Vince’s Italian Restaurant and Pizza, Highline Medical Center, Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant, PCC Natural Markets, Starbucks, Washington Dental Service, QFC, Regence, Trident Seafood, Tim Cascade Snacks, Snoqualmie Casino, Virginia Mason Hospital and Medical Center, Donald and Teresa Benedict, Tulalip Casino, and Amtrak. Their support reminds us that our volunteers deserve the very best!
Who wouldn't be inspired by this bunch of
friendly, caring volunteers?!

**An extensive array of photos from the Appreciation Luncheon can be found here:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why They Volunteer

Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds with a wide diversity of life experiences. Not only do we enjoy hearing more about who they are, but we also appreciate the assortment of reasons that explain why they’re here. The following are some of the stories that drivers from both the Volunteer Transportation and Hyde Shuttle programs have shared with us:
    "These services are lifelines for people. If these clients didn’t get out and about, they might vegetate mentally and physically.  It's a valuable service, and I wanted to be a part of it."

    "I just wanted something helpful to do to fill my time during retirement."

    "I am lucky because I currently have good health and fairly good physical capabilities (knock on wood!). I wanted to help others who may not have the same abilities; I don’t want to take them for granted."

    "My mother is 90-years-old and lives in Detroit. Because I’m not able to help her out with her daily routines and activities, I wanted to serve other seniors here in the Seattle area."

    "My wife works in a hospital and noticed that clients who had 15-minute radiation appointments often had to take over 5 hours of their time to get to and from the medical facility. I wanted to help out so that people wouldn’t have to wait so long."

    "I knew that I’d be working with inspiring people. I hope that I’m as determined as they are when I’m older."

    "My parents have both passed away. I’m volunteering in their honor."

Regardless of what initially compelled them to volunteer,  we hope that they discover more and more reasons to keep driving, week after week and year after year.

About Me

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“Behind the Wheel” offers stories, reflections, news and updates about Sound Generations’ (formerly Senior Services') Transportation Program. Throughout King County, our inspiring volunteers provide needed mobility to local seniors, supporting them in their efforts to remain independent, healthy, and happy. Please drop by to read more about the unique experiences of our volunteers, clients and staff!
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