Meet HopSkipDrive CareDriver Mishelle Sharp

Since claiming her first ride as a CareDriver in the Los Angeles market in December of 2016, Mishelle Sharp has completed 1,693 rides to date. Though the desire to earn extra income was the main reason she became a CareDriver, the opportunity she’s had to engage with — and help — children has added a new level of meaning to the experience. 

What made you decide to become a CareDriver?

Initially, I looked into being a CareDriver for extra money for something I was saving up for.  After I started seeing how many families and organizations I was helping though, my reasons for driving began to change. Don’t get me wrong, I love earning extra money but I am often surprised by how much it is because I don’t even realize I have driven so much!

What do you like most about being a CareDriver?

I enjoy engaging with the children and learning about the things that occupy their minds, from topics as simple as education to world events. I also like knowing I am providing a ride that a school, the Department of Children and Family Services (DFCS) or another type of organization has booked. I like helping out families as well. 
Lastly, since I wasn’t able to attend extracurricular activities myself due to the fact that I had a single parent who worked, I really enjoy picking children up from music lessons, a dance class, etc.

What are your thoughts about HopSkipDrive’s emphasis on safety?

I like the fact that not only do the CareDrivers have community guidelines but so, too, do the Riders. I feel like there is mutual respect between the CareDrivers, the Riders and the HopSkipDrive staff that help us on the phone. 
It is nice to get a weekly safety report so that I know what I can improve on as a driver and what to be more mindful of. 
Having the check-in system so the parents are assured we are on our way and know exactly when we picked up their children is fantastic. 

How does your caregiving experience play a role in being a CareDriver?

My caregiving experience is pretty vast, from being an elementary teacher’s aide, to being a teacher and director at child care centers, to being a social worker for foster children to my current job as a parent educator. I bring all the elements of my career into my role as a CareDriver. 
But the biggest way my background impacts [my role as a CareDriver] has to do with driving a diverse population of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and knowing how to engage with them — whether it’s children who may have strayed a bit from mainstream education or a foster child who wants to attend their previous school even though their foster home is outside that jurisdiction. 

Have you had any experiences with Riders that have been especially meaningful to you?

I once picked up a young lady who continuously thanked me for being a CareDriver. She reiterated the fact that without us, she would not be able to attend her school. She explained that she lived in a homeless shelter/group home, and she talked about just how much foster parents are needed because there are so many other high school students like her who are really trying to turn their lives around but are unable to do so in their current living situation. She was grateful she had the chance of a new start, and she knew that HopSkipDrive was a huge part of that. 

What are the most important things you gain from being a CareDriver?

By focusing on providing a safe ride for Riders, being a CareDriver has helped me follow the rules of the road even more carefully. This is due to the realization that I am transporting precious cargo but also by not wanting to get a ticket or have an accident, which could affect my ability to assist so many children and families. The other thing I gain from being a CareDriver is insight into how many children already have a sense of purpose and know how they would like to make their mark on the world.

How important do you think HopSkipDrive’s mission (to create opportunity for all through mobility) is, and why?

What I like the most about HopSkipDrive is that you make things possible for everybody. This is huge for me, personally and professionally.

Tell us about your experience using the HopSkipDrive app. 

The app is very helpful! I especially like the new feature of it telling me the time I should leave my house, and that it adds in the extra cushion I always like to give to ensure I arrive at the destination on time. The map is helpful, as well as having the full information of who to contact if we need help. It’s good to have a direct link to reach the family without having to call HopSkipDrive. I also really appreciate when the families or organizations add in additional notes related to how to find the Rider or what street to take to get into the carpool line.

As a CareDriver, do you feel valued and supported by HopSkipDrive?

Yes, I feel valued. The support is superb. Once I get connected, HopSkipDrive quickly finds solutions to whatever I need.


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