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Stories

Why should you become a Rides for Health volunteer?

Free training in Greenfield to take place on September 25

Nov 2017 AVS Gale Mason R4H photo WEBWhen Gale Mason, Rides for Health volunteer, brings Regina LoBello to her medical appointments, they both enjoy the opportunity to talk in the car. “I love taking Regina to her appointments,” says Gale. “We have a good time. I learn new recipes.”Healthcare transportation is a critical need for elders living in our community. In a few hours a month, you could help as a Rides for Health volunteer!

Becoming a volunteer is simple. After completing the application process, you will attend a half-day of training. The next free training takes place on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, from 1 to 5 p.m., at Greenfield Community College’s downtown location. Light refreshments will be served.

Click here for more information or to apply.

Volunteer Rides for Health drivers are critical to the health of elders who are home care clients of LifePath in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region. In providing an elder with a ride to a healthcare appointment or the pharmacy, volunteers make a difference in the lives of the elders with whom they’re matched.

“Our hope for the Rides for Health program,” says Trevor, “is to expand the number of volunteers that we’re able to provide and thereby eliminate our waiting list and serve more elders.”

Drivers are reimbursed for all mileage associated with their Rides from Health trips (from their home to the client's home, to the appointment and/or pharmacy, and back to their home).

Why do Rides for Health drivers choose to volunteer?

When looking at volunteer positions with LifePath, a local nonprofit that helps elders and people with disabilities maintain their independence, the Rides for Health program resonated with Gale Mason, retired nurse practitioner. “This is such a great program. I mean, I've believed in it from the start, from the minute I heard about it. I'm committed to keeping people in their homes as long as they can stay in their homes. It's what I want; it's what my husband wants. It's what my parents wanted,” says Gale. “And I think that's much easier done locally because we don't have families that live all together in one community anymore.”

Marvin Kelley is also enjoying being a volunteer in his retirement. “I love to drive, I like to meet new people, I’ve always enjoyed people of my age or older,” says Marvin. “Helping has been kind of a theme in my career and my life.”

Steve McKnight is retired from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation and was one of the first Rides for Health volunteers. “We had a half-day training session that was very good,” says Steve. “They basically trained us in what we needed to do.

Likewise, Marvin appreciated the training he received with the other volunteers. “I expected to be trained and screened. That adds an element to my confidence in being able to provide this kind of service.”

All of the volunteers feel good about being there for others who are in need. “I know people need this help because they don't have family to help them,” says Steve. “It makes me feel good that I can kind of help somebody.”