Volunteer drivers are still needed for the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA’s Outreach Program for Ahwatukee Seniors — better known as Y OPAS — to fill the void left by vacationing ones.
Volunteers last year donated 9,000 hours of their time and put 73,000 miles on their vehicles to help wheel-less seniors get to 8,600 appointments — 6,000 of which were for medical appointments as well as grocery shopping and other vital trips.
Y OPAS director Jill Sears said the program needs about 20 volunteer drivers willing to pick up the slack between now and September.
Volunteers must be 21 or older and provide a valid operators license and proof of insurance.
“Volunteers go online and choose appointments that fit their schedules. So, It’s very flexible and easy,” Sears added, noting that volunteers can sign up for the geographic area they’d like to serve in — East Valley, Ahwatukee only or Valley-wide.”
Sears said the seniors are grateful for the rides, adding, “it’s an amazing thing to see how good doing good makes others feel.”
While there are no minimum hours that volunteers are expected to put in, “we suggest trying to drive once per week to get to know the clients,” Sears said.
“We’re not just a taxi service,” she explained. “We create relationships with these clients. This isn’t like Uber. We go to front door and walk them to the car. We don’t dump them off. We take them back to their door.”
Clients who need a ride must be 62 or older, live independently in one of Ahwatukee’s three ZIP codes and must be able to get in and out of a vehicle on their own because the service is non-medical in nature.
Sears always tells volunteers, “Even if you can drive once a week or twice per month, it all helps.”
Interested people can contact Y OPAS at email@example.com or call 602-212-6088.