Liz Jones is an entrepreneur, mom of two teenagers and self-declared volunteer extraordinaire. The Herndon resident admits that she finds it hard to sit still and is always looking for ways to give back to her community. As a member of the “sandwich generation”, Liz found herself raising her own children while simultaneously caring for her Dad from a distance. She distinctly understands the hardships and challenges that older adults face when they must give up driving.
After her Dad got into multiple car accidents which forced him to give up his license, Liz and her sister struggled with coordinating transportation to his regular dialysis appointments multiple times a week. They felt “blessed” when they finally found someone who could help them with the driving.
“Not only did Deb drive Dad to dialysis,” says Jones, “but she walked him in and out of the appointment, gently woke him up if he happened to oversleep and offered companionship during their rides together. She was a godsend.”
Liz and her sister understood that Deb was offering their Dad so much more than just a ride. It gave them peace of mind knowing that he was safe and traveling with someone who they trusted. Not only did their Dad develop a close relationship with Deb, Liz felt that Deb served as their eyes and ears on the ground and trusted her to tell them if something seemed out of sorts.
“Having a driver for Dad took the burden off me, both mentally and emotionally,” says Liz.
After her Dad passed away, Liz knew that she wanted to find a way to pay it forward in her own community. She connected with Herndon Village Network and immediately started picking up rides, as time allows.
“ Having a driver for Dad took the burden off of me, both mentally and emotionally.”
Liz is a very busy person – running DullesMoms.com, volunteering with Girl Scouts and raising her own children, Claire (16) and Lucas (14). But she views this as an important and necessary way to give back.
“I’m doing this as much for the riders who need to get to life-saving appointments as I am for their children who may not live nearby…I do it to give them the peace of mind of knowing that Mom and Dad are going to be safe.”
Liz works from home, so she can choose rides when it works with her schedule. Sometimes she brings her computer along to do work while her rider is with the doctor, other times she coordinates her own grocery run to happen when she accompanies a passenger to the store, occasionally (before the COVID era) bringing her children along to help push the cart and carry groceries into the house.
“I’ve done a thousand different volunteer things throughout my life, and when I’m a driver I know immediately that I am making a difference in that person’s day”, says Liz. “More than any other volunteer experience I’ve done I find this one to be the most rewarding, by far.”
If you are working from home now and have some flexibility in your schedule to give one or two rides a month, you could be making a huge impact in neighbor’s life. NV Rides coordinates a network of community-based organizations throughout Northern Virginia that provide volunteer driving services to older adults. Contact NV Rides to learn about a program in your area and how you can sign up to be a driver at www.nvrides.org
“I’ve done a thousand different volunteer things throughout my life, and when I’m a driver I know immediately that I am making a difference in that person’s day.”
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