Andy is a volunteer driver for the Seniors on the Move (SOTM) program at Collingwood Neighbourhood House. He is a passionate volunteer who is eager to lend a hand when people need a little support.
Ron has cerebral palsy and uses SOTM because it improves his quality of life. Andy has been driving him consistently. Ron believes that the service is really beneficial, saving time and money, and giving him an opportunity to be independent. He appreciates Andy because he feels it’s not an easy job and he never complains and is always on time. The two have a great connection and energy about them.
For Andy, finding the right fit is a critical aspect of volunteering. Being a volunteer driver gives him an opportunity to get out of the house and he feels appreciated and inspired by the people he meets. It is flexible and he gets to socialize with everyone.
When meeting someone, he always contacts them in advance to understand their situation and needs, have a chat, and arrange time and location of pickup/drop-off. While Andy loves to stay in shape, he explained that you don’t need to be in amazing shape to help seniors: They know their limits and his number one rule is to always ask if seniors need help before he acts.
Language is the most difficult barrier. Andy slows down his speech to be clear and easy to understand. He’s not afraid to repeat himself in order to avoid misunderstandings. He recalled a situation when he took somebody to Service Canada and, in collaboration with the settlement team, took on a larger role than expected to help guide her through the process.
Andy is motivated because sometimes we are forced to be dispassionate – he sees that it could be anyone in that difficult position. He loves helping people and feeling a sense of accomplishment.
(Submission and photo by Geoffrey Wong, gently edited)