Douglas-Cherokee introducing Community Contact program

Do you enjoy helping others?

Local volunteers, age 26 and over, are needed to help strengthen their communities by helping those in need of transportation to their non-emergency medical appointments and by calling to check in on those who are homebound.

The Douglas-Cherokee Community Connect Program seeks volunteers to help keep those most vulnerable connected to the community, both physically and socially. The goal is to reduce social isolation, improve the ability of elderly citizens to age in place and promote healthy futures.

Douglas-Cherokee Community Connect Transportation volunteers receive mileage reimbursement at a rate of $0.30 per mile roundtrip. Telephone reassurance volunteers will contact homebound seniors at least two times per week, at pre-arranged times, to engage in conversation in order to reduce social isolation.

When asked about her personal experience volunteering with Douglas-Cherokee Community Connect, volunteer Mary Young stated, “What a surprise to discover that Transportation turned out to be a life lesson. In the beginning, I was more interested in Telecare than transportation. But, once I started with transportation, it has become quite the blessing in more ways than one. The uniqueness is seeing and talking to people face-to-face. Many times, these folks have made me realize just how blessed I am.

“A few have physical issues and they are so grateful to have someone just to hold on to while walking, and for taking them wherever they need to go. Helping them into doctor offices or carrying their groceries into the house brings a sense of gratitude. Additionally, many friendships have developed just from driving them places and being in a position to hear their life stories – the happy and the sad as well. When they’re all done and back home, they always say, “Thank you,” as I prepare to leave. I tell them, “It was my pleasure.” Little do they know it is my privilege to be with them,” Young said.

Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Shannon Collins, Douglas-Cherokee Community Connect program director, at 423-318-6912, 423-621-1943 or via email at scollins@douglascherokee.org.