BY CHERYL SCOTT
I volunteer for Project Lifesaver because it is a lifeline for people who have a loved one with cognitive issues and a tendency to wander. I personally was faced with that exact situation.
My mother left my house crawling out the doggie door. She did that because the house had a security system that would sound if she opened the door. It was the scariest time of my life. The thoughts that raced through my head were unbearable.
After about 10 minutes of looking for her, I returned home knowing I would have to call the police for help. As I got out of my vehicle, I saw something moving in the hedges. Yes, indeed, it was Mom. She laughed at me because she was close to the house. She thought it was a game. I was not laughing. In fact, I was crying. I realized something different had to be done to keep her safe because next time may not turn out so well.
I had heard of Project Lifesaver, and I felt that would be my next step to giving me peace of mind when it came to caring for Mom. After planning to go this route, I didn’t sign Mom up because her needs became much more significant than putting a device on her. No matter, I still believed in the program.
The last day of the Virginia Beach Citizen’s Policy Academy, an officer spoke about volunteer opportunities within the police department, and one of them was Project Lifesaver. They had me hooked after that. I signed up for training and completed all the necessary requirements to become a volunteer.
Currently, I have 10 clients who all require a battery and band change monthly. I also work with Tom Thomas from the program to get the database up to date. And I am qualified to teach the class for new people interested in volunteering for Project Lifesaver.
After they complete the class, pass a background check and get their ID, volunteers are given a kit to perform the battery and band changes. They are required to take on at a minimum one client.
When they are assigned their first client, either Tom or I assist in their first battery change. That client becomes their responsibility when it comes to making the necessary battery and band changes and updating the database. Tom and I work very closely with our volunteers so that the first time out the gate is a good one – and so is every visit with their client after that.
Project Lifesaver is a very rewarding opportunity for someone looking to volunteer. Being with my clients every month really helps me stay grounded, and it does my heart good.
It doesn’t take much to become a volunteer, and the rewards are overflowing.
© 2018 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC