Kindness Takes the Cake … with 1500 Reasons to celebrate

by convenor on 30/10/2018

CarPal, the Community Rideshare initiative of Hills Community Aid, recently reached the milestone of its 1500th Ride for Hills Seniors.

 

The Ride was at the request of CarPal client & regular Rider, Dulcie, who wanted to get to a hairdressing appointment in Dural one afternoon in late September. After Dulcie’s request was circulated by volunteer Facilitator Stephanie to the CarPal community, volunteer driver Marilyn responded by offering to take Dulcie to her appointment and then to bring her home afterwards.

And so it was. Dulcie had a new look and CarPal moved past 1500 Rides for Shut-in Seniors in The Hills.

 

At the heart of Community Rideshare is kindness and a recognition that loneliness can often be a companion of the elderly if they are forced to remain isolated at home. Not that it’s a problem for Dulcie who maintains strong connections to family and friends.

Stephanie, a highly regarded professional in her field, travels extensively in her job but still manages to juggles time to fit in her volunteer role. Stephanie likes to help Seniors like Dulcie and  feels good about belonging to a caring community.

 

Marilyn had overseas visitors coming to stay with her on the the day of our 1500th. She could have used the time to tidy up at home in readiness for her visitors. Instead she decided to offer a kindness to Dulcie. The sort of kindness that comes from the heart of a volunteer.

Obviously, kindness isn’t a new concept. Our grandparents’ generation lived through world wars and rationing where helping neighbours in need was common. And, it has been shown that kindness is actually good for us: a simple act of goodwill, like helping someone with directions, causes elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, creating a natural high.

There is scientific evidence that the vagus nerve – the longest nerve in the body – is stimulated by feelings of compassion and results in putting a ‘brake’ on inflammation in the body.

Kindness is also said to help with anxiety and stress: a study by the University of British Columbia found that people with high levels of anxiety who performed kind deeds for others over six weeks were left feeling significantly more positive.

CarPal volunteers deliver kindness “in spades” when providing their “Uber for Shut-in Seniors” service.

They continue to do this because they contribute to a stronger sense of community than was there before. And they feel better about belonging to their community. And, in the process, a Senior who no longer drives gets to live a little again.

CarPal’s clients have much to thank them for, and do so every time they ride.

What began as a pilot program initiated by me a few years ago with the blessing and support of Hills Community Aid has proven that Community Rideshare  is an component of community infrastructure that no community which cares for its elderly should be without.

When asked “How does it feel knowing that CarPal’s Community Rideshare service is there when you need it?” Dulcie, who also rides with CarPal to attend regular weekly meetings  of her multinational craft support group; a group she has been a member of for 35 years, has the answer:

 

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John

© 2018

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Raju Beadle October 31, 2018 at 11:49 AM

Hi John,

Well done, its a nice article and a great achievement to reach 1500 rides. I am proud to be part of Hills Car Pal, helping Shut-in seniors.

All the best for the next milestone.
Raju

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