Volunteer drivers play an extremely valuable role in the lives of children and youth in care. Drivers become the familiar and friendly faces children and youth can depend on—those who will listen to their stories and bring a smile to their faces at what can be a very confusing time in their lives.
If you have a few hours a week to spare, enjoy driving and love children, this is the volunteer role for you.
We need drivers days, evenings and weekends. Some driver do a specific drive or two each week, some on a daily basis and yet others once a month. We are always in need of reliable, readily available volunteer drivers.
Jim called us at the urging of a friend (one of our volunteers of the year!) when he retired. “I used to work 60 to 70 hours a week and then I retired—you can only spend so much time on the computer!
“I haven’t been driving the kids for very long. On my first drive, I asked the parent where I was taking the child and the parent didn’t know how to get there and neither did I. We had an address that didn’t appear on my GPS. In the end, the child gave us directions! It’s been an experience.”
“You get attached to the kids. There’s one fellow I drive who’s 20 years old at five, and he tells me everything when he’s in the car. That’s fun.”
“The majority of the trips I make with the kids are between home and school or home and foster home or from meetings with parents back to foster homes. Those are emotional for them. You just let the kids talk if they need to. They know their drivers—they’re regulars.
“At Christmas, through the gift program, I delivered a bicycle for the little five‐year‐old who is so positive, and his seven‐year‐old sister. I was so pleased. “
Sandra has been on the road with Halton kids for ten years. “My husband retired, and somebody had to get out of the house!” she laughs. She has rheumatoid arthritis, but her impairment hasn’t stopped her from driving the children.
“It’s an eye‐opener. I think I lived in a little shell. I knew children had problems, but . . . now I’ve been driving some kids since the beginning. I’ve watched them grow up. They’re good kids.”
“As a driver, you are someone who’s always there, a regular feature.
“There’s a family of four I’ve been driving. On Volunteer Appreciation Day, the youngest girl came with her foster mother and siblings. And she made a speech about me! She was four when I started driving her six years ago, and she said I was like family—and it’s true. She’s such a fireball! She’s been arguing with me since she was four years old! It was so special!”
Marie left a volunteer role where she didn’t feel useful. Now she feels great. She loves kids and she loves driving. “Kids make you feel good!”
Marie tells the story of driving a six‐year‐old autistic boy. When she began driving him, he would sit in the back and tell her not to talk. Nowadays he’s a chatterbox. And then there’s the youth with a “tough guy” look who shook her hand and said “thank you” for driving him.
And of course, there’s the young girl she drove for two years who is now her special friend. The two have dinner once a month. “I was a stable person in her life when she needed something stable.”
“You think you can’t give out any more love, and yet there’s always more for the kids.”