Volunteers Share Their Stories
"I enjoy transporting people and having spirited conversations in the car." Jim L
Before joining Bay to Sound Neighbors as a volunteer last year, Jim already understood that a strong need existed to provide rides for people in the community who are no longer able to drive. He had past experience driving people to medical appointments and knows first-hand how grateful people are for this alternative to taking a taxi or having to ask a neighbor. “When you are not able to drive your own car anymore, it is a huge loss for people. I enjoy transporting people and having spirited conversations with them while in the car. People have such fascinating lives.”
Jim acknowledges that it feels good when the people he drives give him positive feedback. “So many are lonely and they miss connecting with others. People are so happy and comforted knowing that they can just pick up the phone and call Bay to Sound Neighbors for a ride to an appointment or to the grocery store. It’s an enjoyable experience for both of us.”
At a recent Bay to Sound social, Jim recalls a conversation with the daughter of a member he has taken to some appointments. She was saying to her mother, "This is a whole new you. You are actually getting out now. You are like your old self!” Jim says that after signing up as a volunteer with Bay to Sound Neighbors, he has a whole new appreciation for grocery shopping. “Each person brings their own intensity to how they grocery shop – and I am getting some exercise while I shop with people!
"A sense of purpose" Gail F
Gail, a resident of Dennis, had considered volunteering after her retirement. “My mother got sick and eventually was moved to a nursing home. I became consumed with being there every day for her. After she passed on, I had this big void in my life. What was I going to do?” She needed a sense of purpose – as many retirees often do. At the urging of a friend, she looked into volunteer opportunities but was reluctant to commit to a schedule again. After learning about volunteering with Bay to Sound Neighbors and how different it is from other non-profits because it is completely flexible, it seemed right for her.
Gail provides transportation for members as well as emergency pet care and friendly visits. “One of the unintended benefits for me is that it helps me manage my time better. I plan my own errands around a member’s service request or while waiting for them at an appointment. I get things done and then I can enjoy my free time after that.”
She also discovered how the members she drives are so grateful for her time and how relieved they are they didn’t have to call or burden a neighbor for a ride. They just call Bay to Sound and the volunteer comes right to the door. When Gail picks up a member, often those who have recently given up driving, she likes to ask the member if they have a particular route they like to take to their destination. “I had a sales job for years and drove all over the Cape. I thought I knew every shortcut, but some of the people I have driven have surprised even me with their secret shortcuts!”
"A good, positive experience" Joe B
Joe B enjoys his retirement by staying active in a senior softball league, bicycling around Cape Cod and volunteering his time. Prior to his retirement, Joe, a Vietnam veteran, had spent a number of years working at the local hardware store in Dennis and got to know many of his customers. As he pondered what to do after retirement, he knew he wanted to stay busy and connected with the community. So when he heard from a friend about Bay to Sound Neighbors, he decided to donate some of his time to people who aren’t able to get around as easily or no longer can drive.
“What impressed me most was how enjoyable the people that I meet are while having conversations with them to and from their activities or appointments.” Recently, when he took two men to the art museum, he was told that he, too, could take part in their pottery class. He had no expectations, but decided to try it! He found that it was a good, positive experience. The members were so appreciative. Other times, Joe volunteers for small home & garden chores for the members – “sometimes you don’t really know what you are getting into, but that is half the fun of it! Overall, it’s been a positive experience, and while I find myself waiting while the member is in an appointment, I have more time to read, it’s great.”
"Volunteering provides a valuable impact to the community" - Jane R.
Jane Robinson joined the original organizational committee that set out to form Bay to Sound Neighbors 18 months before Bay to Sound Neighbors became operational. Jane continues to volunteer for our organization with volunteer Clare Hipp teaming up to interviewing people who have expressed interest in becoming members.
Prior to moving to the Cape in 2015, Jane spent 35 years teaching kindergarten in Western Massachusetts missing only one year when she taught in the United Kingdom as a Fulbright Scholar. During much of that time she and her family had a cottage in West Dennis. Inevitably, she and her husband moved to Dennis and a new home as full time residents 4 ½ years ago.
After retiring from teaching, Jane found volunteerism a worthwhile activity that served a dual purpose. She believes volunteering replaces the identity and satisfaction that retirees derived from their former career plus it provides valuable impact to the local community.
Jane also volunteers for Disaster Services of the Red Cross and is going on 13 years helping people affected by fire or natural disaster. Although most of her work is virtual during the pandemic, she had previously deployed to the disaster locations for Hurricanes Irma, Florence and Sandy. Locally she has worked in the field to assist residents affected by the tornados in Harwich, Yarmouth, and Dennis last year. She has deployed to other locations in Massachusetts for fires and natural disasters. Jane and her colleagues are often the first friendly face victims see as they start to sort out their lives.
Jane also spearheads the area’s Pillowcase Project which is a program that she brought to the Cape from Western Massachusetts. The Pillowcase Project teaches youth preparedness to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. She has presented to over 6,000 students in Western Massachusetts and the Cape.
Jane was a recipient of the Red Cross Hero Award last year for her work at the Red Cross. The Red Cross says that these awards shine light on selflessness of heart and heroism of character.
Jane’s contribution to our community here on Cape Cod through both Bay to Sound Neighbors and her work with the Red Cross is admirable. Her work after 35 years of teaching kindergarten students continues to impact children and those in need.