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.


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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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