When Sophie de Potter was ready for a career change, volunteering as a Red Cross driver seemed like the perfect option. After working for decades in retail, she got a certificate in aged care and disability and saw the volunteer role as an avenue to get hands on experience with the clientele she was so eager to work with.
“I love it. I’m very chatty. There’s not going to be a silent moment in the car,” says Sophie. “I like hearing their life experience, they’re quite happy to share it with me. They’re quite isolated and lonely so they like to chat.”
“Some people are going to dialysis or radio therapy so it’s good to cheer them up. You really get a bond and connection with them.”
Rudi Artz was at the end of his career when he became a volunteer driver three years ago. After decades working in a senior role in healthcare, being a volunteer with the Red Cross Transport service was a way for him to use his communication skills, his love of driving and his knowledge of the health system to help others.
“I’m a people person,” says Rudi. “I like interacting with the clients and putting them at ease, making sure they’re ok after a dialysis appointment or visit to the hospital.”
“I have very good relationships with some of the clients. I picked up a client on her 80th birthday who’d just done a Pilates class and wanted to have a coffee with me to celebrate.”
Both Sophie and Rudi find their volunteer roles very rewarding and acknowledge that volunteering has helped them with the stages of their lives.
“For me it has worked exceptionally well,” says Rudi.
“I don’t want to go back into a full time paid position. I’m very happy where I am. I’m enjoying it because I’m adding value to the clients’ lives.”
As for Sophie, she believes that the volunteer role will help her in her career but, most importantly for her, she is helping people.
“I know I’m making a bit of a difference in their lives.”
Join Sophie and Rudi as volunteer drivers. We’re currently recruiting for transport drivers in a number of locations. Check what's available in your city.