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The Experience of Rides for Health: John & Aminta Share Their Story

Become a Rides for Health Volunteer: Free Training July 29 from 1 p.m.- 5 p.m.

John Wood, a Rides for Health volunteer, has been giving Aminta Peters rides to medical appointments since June 2017. They have formed a close bond based on sharing their life experiences during their trips together. John states, “It's been wonderful. [We’ve] had many good conversations en route.”

Aminta agrees, “Yeah. I appreciate it, I appreciate it very much. We can talk about many topics.”

John became a Rides for Health Volunteer for two main reasons. He states that after a 2002 accident, “many people from the church I attended in Greenfield pooled together and gave me rides to therapy sessions in Springfield over probably a period of oh, six, seven months. I felt that this was a way to repay that generosity and that kindness. And I think the other aspect of it which caught my attention was, here's a chance to meet people I probably wouldn't have met in a normal run of the mill workday. I'd been a teacher at the university for, oh, golly, 35 years, always meeting basically the same sort of people, so I thought this was a chance to branch out.”

John Wood, Rides for Health Volunteer, with Aminta PetersJohn Wood, Rides for Health Volunteer, with Aminta PetersPrior to developing the program, LifePath surveyed clients about transportation and found the following:

  • 42% surveyed said transportation to the doctor is an issue
  • 64% stated that they rely on others for all of their transportation
  • 36% reported having not scheduled doctor’s appointments due to lack of transportation
  • 27% reported having missed doctor’s appointments due to lack of transportation
  • 15% have had issues with accessing medication from their pharmacy
  • 23-34% stated that they declined to participate in, or had to drop out of, outpatient therapy due to transportation issues
  • 32% stated that transportation issues have kept them from participating in health-care related activities

The first Rides for Health training took place in July of 2015. Two volunteers completed the training and began to take on clients. They each started out with 1 client and gradually expanded their capacity. Currently there are 11 Rides for Health volunteers who serve 29 clients. Three clients are still looking for a volunteer.

The success of LifePath’s Rides for Health was recognized when it was selected as a ​2018 n4a Aging Achievement Award recipient (n4a is the national association of Area Agencies on Aging, serving over 600 AAAs nationally). Trevor Boeding, Ombudsman and Rides for Health Director, is the creator and administrator of this vital program. Trevor states, “The success of Rides for Health is due, largely, to the kind and generous community-minded volunteers who serve their clients with grace and dignity. They are the heart and soul of the program.”

The success of LifePath’s Rides for Health was recognized when it was selected as a ​2018 n4a Aging Achievement Award recipient…

According to John, “The training was very straightforward, thanks to Trevor.”

Adds Aminta, “It takes the person running the program to think about all the aspects of what makes a program do well, you know? And I would highly recommend other clients take advantage of this program.”

According to Aminta, “From a client's point of view, I have found this very helpful in meeting my healthcare needs that I wouldn't be able to do otherwise. I felt safe and the fact that they had been screened and all that, it was a relief for me. Certainly John, as well as the other people, have been very respectful and kind, cordial, punctual. I appreciate that.”

John states he appreciates “the fact that we're able to drive people to appointments and it enables them to live at home and have all the benefits of home living rather than having to go into some healthcare facility. I feel that I'm contributing something by being able to do that.”

Become a Rides for Health driver and make a huge difference in the life of a senior! A free training will take place on July 29th from 1 pm to 5 pm. For more information, call Trevor Boeding, Ombudsman and Rides for Health Director, at (413) 773-5555 X2241 or (978) 544-2259 X2241; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or fill out a simple form.