The CareDriver connection
Written by Karen Sampson
When HopSkipDrive CareDrivers are asked about the benefits they gain from being a CareDriver, forging a connection to others is one of the things that is mentioned most.
Developing a sense of trust with Riders and parents/caregivers — and supporting them by helping with the transportation needs of their daily lives — makes the CareDriver experience a very special and rewarding one.
Read on to hear what CareDrivers have to say about how being a HopSkipDrive CareDriver can fulfill the need we have for connection in our lives.
The psychology of connection
Connecting with other people is a vital part of life for so many reasons. It brings a sense of meaning and purpose to our lives. It builds self-esteem and self-worth. It helps us feel seen and understood — and less alone. And it contributes to our overall well-being.
Technology today enables us to connect with one another in more ways than ever before. Ironically, though, more than half of adults in the U.S. — 58% — are lonely, according to recent data gathered by Cigna, a healthcare and insurance company. One of the main reasons people tend to feel lonely is a lack of earnest human connection with others.
PsychCentral defines human connection as “the sense of closeness and belongingness a person can experience when having supportive relationships with those around them.”
According to PsychCentral, human connection offers us numerous benefits such as:
- Boosting mood
- Helping us regulate our emotions
- Alleviating stress
- Improving quality of life
- Increasing life span
There are many different things you can do to form connections with others in your community. Becoming a HopSkipDrive CareDriver is one such option.
CareDrivers connect by helping others
Helping others is always a worthwhile way to form relationships and develop a genuine sense of purpose and belonging. Being a HopSkipDrive CareDriver offers a unique opportunity to strengthen and be part of the fabric of a community.
By helping to ensure kids and families have access to safe, reliable transportation, CareDrivers become an integral part of families’ lives. And since all CareDrivers have at least five years of caregiving experience, CareDrivers often form deep bonds with their Riders by listening empathically, offering encouragement, and being a consistent and positive presence in their lives.
“I’m a CareDriver in the Inland Empire in California, and I love it. I love being able to help parents like myself, and I enjoy seeing new faces as well as the same faces. It’s like they’re my own! I love bonding with them and getting to know them.”
“Being able to have a good conversation with my Riders is a delight. I recently drove one of my regular Riders, and we had a great conversation about the books we like to read and our experiences traveling.”
“I love being a CareDriver! I really enjoy being able to connect with the Riders, and I hope to be a bright spot in their day. I have driven all kinds of Riders ranging from young children going to school to the elderly going to doctor’s appointments. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking, and other times it is truly inspirational.”
“I’ve grown to love a few of my regular Riders. I would go get them for free if I had to!”
Connection goes both ways
CareDrivers love knowing they are making a positive impact in the lives of the Riders they transport. The CareDriver experience provides a natural sense of gratification in this way.
When a sincere connection develops between two people, however — as it often does between CareDrivers and Riders — it goes both ways, and benefits everyone.
“I honestly feel aligned in this work because of my love and admiration for children. Not only do I feel I am making an imprint on their lives, but they also absolutely are making an imprint on mine.”
“Initially, my reasons for becoming a CareDriver were the flexible schedule and competitive pay. However, after the first drive, I realized this experience had so much more to offer. I value the opportunity to be a safe place for students where they feel welcomed, heard and encouraged.”
“What I love most about being a CareDriver is having the opportunity to help those that need and depend on our service. It gives me a sense of responsibility and a feeling that I am doing something of purpose. I enjoy seeing some of the same Riders on a continual basis, and having good friendships with them.”
“The people I meet every day inspire me, and I try to make them feel like they are more than just a ride and a paycheck. I’m grateful to be able to get paid for giving this service.”
“The thing I like most about being a CareDriver is the children and the idea of helping them. I love seeing their eyes light up when they see I’m driving them. It truly makes my day.”
Special CareDriver moments
In addition to helping to arrange transportation for children ages six and up, the HopSkipDrive platform supports anyone who might need a little extra care, such as senior citizens.
Transporting children and other vulnerable populations is one of the many things that makes the CareDriver experience special. Through personal interactions with Riders, CareDrivers gain insight into a wide range of life circumstances and situations — many of which can be incredibly moving and thought-provoking.
By bearing witness to the ups and downs of their Riders’ lives, CareDrivers feel empathy that leads to a sense of closeness with their Riders.
“I’ve had many kids in foster care as Riders. They are a unique and special group of kids who often tell me about their experiences with their foster families, and how much they miss their mom or parents. I always remember their names, and tell them I picked them over the other rides because I enjoy talking to them about different topics. I treat them like they’re my own. I love these kids; they complete my day.”
“Last summer, I had a few rides for a senior. She was awesome; we had some great conversations about her growing up. Her home was about 30 miles from my house but I still took those rides for the priceless life lessons.”
“For me, the biggest thing I’ve learned [being a CareDriver] is how to be a good listener. This is something anyone can learn — how to ask the right questions and then having some degree of discernment in terms of where to go from there. Sometimes, the youth that I pick up are living at a motel with their single parent or they’re coming from a foster home or they have some sort of trauma they’re dealing with. And that can create unique challenges. It’s really about listening, and figuring out what you can do.”
“I once picked up a young lady who continuously thanked me for being a CareDriver. She reiterated the fact that without HopSkipDrive, 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.”
Interested in becoming a HopSkipDrive CareDriver?