Amy Ruth Singer Douglass dedicates part of her week to driving seniors to various destinations, including doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and getting a haircut.
One particular highlight of Douglass’s day is meeting people around the community and learning about their stories. “They all have very interesting stories, they’ve lived very vibrant lives, and aside from appreciating the ride, I think they appreciate meeting the people – and the same goes for me,” she said. “There’s a lot of hidden, very cool humans tucked away in the Lehigh Valley that you have no idea what an impact they’ve had previously on what happens today.”
“I’ve had some moments of really fantastic laughter,” she recalled of her favorite memories of driving. Once, she said, “I drove a very nice woman who was an English lit major at one time and writes sonnets. I was also an English lit major and she asked me one day if I’d like to hear one of the sonnets she wrote. She proceeded to recite it as if I was sitting in a master class, and it was beautiful, and it was just one of those moments where you’re kind of lifted out of your situation and taken somewhere else. My guess is she may have felt the same way judging by the way she shared it with me. I’ve [also] met a woman whose parents grew up in the town that my great-grandparents came from in Russia, so things that I only have heard about in my own home, I could hear about from somebody else’s experience. It’s the little things.”
The GO Program is particularly meaningful to Douglass because of her relationship with her grandmother, who lived with her when she was young. “We lived in a small town in New Jersey that wasn’t accessible to things and I fully appreciate how difficult it was for her to get to the things she needed to get to when she couldn’t. Because of this background, this resonated with me, and I decided to volunteer to do some driving.” She added, “For me, it’s nice, many people have similar backgrounds to my grandmother, and she’s no longer with us, so it makes me feel at home.”
Douglass urges others to consider driving as well. “It’s flexible; they only ask that you do so many rides a month, which is easy for someone to work into their schedule,” she said. “They send out a roster of open rides and you can take whatever fits into your schedule.”