Friday, June 28, 2013

Full Circle: The Client/Driver Cycle

Many of us describe the act of volunteering as a way of “giving back” to our community.  Helping others reminds us of the idea that we’re “all in this together,” and that we are all a part of a larger web of interdependence.  Within this integrated framework, at times, we are the ones reaching out to help others; at other times, we are the ones reaching out for help in moments of vulnerability.

Several members of our Volunteer Transportation community are evidence of this fact.  There are drivers who have become clients and clients who have become drivers within our team.  Their role reversals have helped them to gain a greater understanding of our program from multiple perspectives.

Georgette C. was once a volunteer driver and is now a regular client.  She says, “I have been on both sides of the program… When I was a driver, I could see how appreciative the riders were.  They were always so grateful, and they made me want to be there.   And now I appreciate all of my volunteer drivers!  I need the program so badly now.  I adore the program.  I enjoyed driving, and now I enjoy being a rider.” 

Georgette reports that she was not surprised when she eventually had to give up volunteering to become a client herself.  She explains, “I was so sorry I couldn’t keep up driving anymore, but I always knew I would become a rider.  I felt as though I were ‘paying’ as a driver, yet I would be ‘collecting’ later down the road.” 

Peter O. recently made the opposite switch.  He explains, “I required a colonoscopy and needed a ride to Bellevue last March.  My driver was a very pleasant young woman, who called ahead, arrived on time, and waited while I had the procedure.  I was impressed!”  He was so impressed that he “felt it was time to pay back” and soon submitted an online application to become a volunteer driver.  He has given many rides thus far and says, “Each of them has been a positive experience.”

Pat P. has a similar story and notes, “I originally used VT after a bilateral knee replacement.  I needed help in getting to my appointments as I live alone and family were busy with their careers and personal activities, so this was definitely a godsend.  … I’ve now been a volunteer driver for 7 years and love most of my drives.  I meet incredible people...”

Some call it karma; others call it “paying it forward” or “paying it back;” others call it a civic duty.  Whatever we choose to call this phenomenon, it is clear that we all participate in becoming mutually indebted to one another-- whether as a client or as a driver (or both).  We all work together for the common good.

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Ode to Hyde Shuttles

In February, we published a cheesy poem honoring our Volunteer Transportation drivers.  We feel that it is now time to do the same for the amazing volunteers and staff of the Hyde Shuttle program.

Here is our "Ode to Hyde Shuttles" (from a client perspective):

I was unable to get out and about on my own,
and I grew tired and bored at home all alone.
I wistfully dreamed of a way to break free
from the same four walls constantly surrounding me.

I was then informed of a shuttle called Hyde
that I could use if I ever needed a ride.
The van would pick me up at my home
and take me anywhere I wanted to go.

Registration was just a phone call away,
so I called to get started the very next day.
It was so easy to sign-up it was hard to believe;
I felt like there wasn’t anything I couldn’t achieve!

The shuttle came to pick me up at my front door,
and, just like that, I had a whole new world to explore.
I was able to go to the Senior Center, doctor’s, and store—
as well as the beauty parlor, a friend’s home, library, and more.

I felt very alive, empowered, and carefree;
there was so much more to do than just watch TV!
I’m no longer painfully limited in what I can do;
there are many new hobbies and activities to pursue.

The drivers are all courteous and as nice as can be;
they really strive to take good care of me.
They gingerly help me get into the van with care
and don’t mind that I need to stay in my wheelchair.

It’s hard to know how to effectively convey
all of the gratitude and positive things I want to say,
but I hope that ending with this statement will do:
Hyde Shuttle team, I truly appreciate you!
Friday, June 14, 2013

Thank You Card

 We are fortunate enough to receive many thoughtful, heartfelt, hand-written messages from clients and family members who have benefited from our services, and we'd like to share one of them with you for this week's post.  It reads:

To Jacob and all the volunteer drivers,

Thank you all so much for providing my mother rides to her clinic in downtown Seattle the last couple of weeks.  She so enjoyed meeting the drivers that volunteered to drive her to her daily appointments, the kindness of each person, and their promptness to get her there on time.  We appreciate your service.

Thanks again for everything! :)

Carol & Louanne

We are glad to have helped Louanne with her treatment and agree that we have the kindest, promptest volunteers around!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hyde Shuttle Story: Party Time

Brenda A., Hyde Shuttle Coordinator, shared the following fun experience with us:
"Geraldine’s daughter called the Hyde Shuttle client line and asked us to schedule her mother to come for lunch at the River Rock restaurant. I knew the rider and knew that she didn’t go to that restaurant , so I wanted to clarify that she wasn’t going to the Senior Center…  I then learned that the daughter was throwing her a surprise 99th birthday party!!  She had invited her past neighbors and coworkers from the community, including many Rotarians and other nonprofit friends with whom she’d worked.  Geraldine uses a wheelchair and rides on our shuttle because she can comfortably travel without having to transfer in and out of the car…PLUS…her daughter was trying to keep this all secret!  I was able to accommodate the request and hope that they had a memorable and enjoyable celebration.”

About Me

My photo
“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!
Powered by Blogger.