I CARE volunteers come from churches, referrals from DeKalb County, United Way, civic groups, and notices published in neighborhood newsletters. We also distribute flyers to recruit volunteers as well. We provide training for all of our volunteers and they are informed of their obligation and commitments to serve seniors with courtesy, patience, and kindness. Our volunteers are called "companions" because they provide clients with someone to talk with and provide emotional support. We seek volunteers of any race, religious affiliation, or income status as long as they can meet driver/companion requirements. Volunteers are expected to be responsible, ethical, dependable, and have excellent driving records. Volunteers may choose the day(s) and time(s) they drive, and accept or decline any ride.
Many volunteers are referred by members of the Board of Directors or by other volunteers. Potential volunteers are asked to visit our office for an interview, meet the staff, and discuss their responsibilities before being accepted as volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of I CARE. We believe we have the very best people, and are pleased that so many have been volunteers since the beginning of the program. We provide volunteer recognition events, but the true rewards of volunteering come from the satisfaction of knowing that what volunteers do truly helps others live longer and better lives. People volunteer for many reasons but most volunteers find that giving other people "a lift", lifts their spirits as well. Underlying it all is the basic desire to be of service to others. Many of our volunteers are retired, and say they wish to "give back to the community." Others enjoy meeting a variety of people and knowing that they are truly helping others. Regardless of the reason, studies show that volunteers who give of their time and energy to assist others, with no expected reward, seem to suffer from far less stress and depression in their lives. They also enjoy many more invigorating moments of self-satisfaction and pride, along with peace and contentment.
It appears that while helping others, volunteers help themselves, as well. In many cases, volunteers and clients develop a personal relationship. The letters we receive from our clients are inspiring. Our clients say our volunteers perform way beyond their expectations by driving long distances, being prompt and courteous, and providing companionship.