SPRINGDALE, NL — Rebecca Norman has more to overcome than most in getting to work.
The Springdale woman has cerebral palsy. Mobility is one of the major obstacles she has to overcome to be a productive member of society.
Norman wants to work, and loves her job at the Green Bay Community Employment Corporation. Having cerebral palsy, even getting to a job can prove to be difficult.
She is thankful there is a program in Springdale to assist. The Green Bay North care2ride program provides transportation to seniors and other people with mobility issues. The 26-year-old, who requires a wheelchair to get around, has been using the program to get to work for nearly three years.
It is important to Norman because she enjoys her job — a lot.
“I shred paper, I get everything ready for events ... if there’s a big event coming up like Winterfest, I get ready for that,” an enthusiastic Norman said.
The Green Bay Association for Community Living partners with numerous community groups to host the annual Winterfest activities.
Norman likes having Joe Hann as her volunteer driver. He not only drives her to work and picks her up, she said, but also takes her to any appointments she may have.
“He’s friendly and he helps me a lot,” she said. “I’d be lost without Joe.
“Sharon and Joe are very sweet and very kind,” Norman added, referring to care2ride program co-ordinator Sharon Pelley. She also takes Norman and other care2ride participants where they need to go.
About the program
Care2ride is a multi-community, volunteer-driven service offered by the Town of Springdale and Life Unlimited for Older Adults. Pelley is employed by both the town and the organization.
“Every Thursday I take the Central Health Valley Vista bus here in town for anyone who’d like to go uptown,” Pelley said of the town’s partnership with Central Health. “There are (care2ride participants) that use that bus every week.” She also uses the bus for Life Unlimited Older Adults events.
Eighteen people in Springdale participate in the care2ride program, according to Pelley.
There is a small fee for users — $20 gets participants five tickets. One ticket can be used for a ride to and from their destination.
The program got its start through funding from the provincial government — the department now called Children, Seniors and Social Development Department. Initial funding was for a three-year pilot program for Green Bay North, which concluded in May. However, in July Premier Dwight Ball announced additional funding totalling $300,000, earmarked to six organizations, through government’s Age-Friendly Grants Program. The Town of Springdale received $50,000.
The town provides office space for the program and covers internet and other office-related expenses, according to care2ride co-chair Jason Sparkes. The funding helps keep overhead low.
The program would not be sustainable without the volunteer drivers though, he said, and more drivers are welcome.
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
A member of the Green Bay Kinsmen Club, Joe Hann has been giving to others for many years. He enjoys volunteering with the care2ride program.
Hann takes Norman to her workplace every week and anywhere else she may want to go, when he is available.
“I help Rebecca into the car and out of the car,” he said. “I take her where she is going and pick her up when she is ready to come back. I have a small car which is low on the ground, so it’s easier for her to get into my car.”
Hann gets satisfaction knowing he’s helping people live their lives to the fullest.
“It’s certainly a good feeling,” he said.
Anyone who’d like to volunteer as a driver with the care2ride program can email Pelley email@example.com or call at 709-668-2222.