Even though she’s a busy college student, Belinda knew she wanted to make an impact in her community. She had a few constraints to deal with (little time and no transportation), but she was hoping to find a volunteer opportunity she could do online or on the phone.
At first, Belinda joined a community outreach program but didn’t feel that the work she was doing would have the type of effect she wanted. She wanted to have a bigger impact. “The combination of me wanting to do something and the type of opportunity that presented itself, it just fit. It’s perfect for me.”
Belinda is the ride coordinator for Road To Recovery of Nassau County. The Road To Recovery program provides transportation to and from cancer treatment for people who don’t have a ride or are unable to drive themselves. Every day Belinda carves out time in her schedule to match cancer patients who need a ride with a volunteer driver who’s available.
“I have to see who matches best – driver to patient. I take in specifics because if the patient is in a walker or has a caretaker with them I need to make sure there’s room in the driver’s car.” Belinda says she takes inspiration working alongside the volunteer drivers. “They are all so dedicated and go through great lengths to help out. What they do is truly admirable, and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Volunteering definitely is a time commitment but something that is important to Belinda. She says, “You need to do something to enhance your life; no one else is going to do that for you. You have to take it into your own hands. This was a great way for me to help out the community and it fit into my schedule."
It’s a part of her schedule that’s adding to Belinda’s education, too. “I’ve learned a substantial amount of people skills. Especially on the phone. I’ve learned to be more understanding and more accommodating of people’s needs.”
But the best part of Belinda’s job? It’s that “Little burst of happiness when you get a ‘yes’ to a ride request and you know that the patient is going to be able to get their treatment and see their doctor. It’s like YES!”