Founded in 2007, over the past fifteen years, the West Island Volunteer Accompaniment Service (ABOVAS) has been offering accompanied transport free of charge to West Island residents in need.
With the help of volunteers, ABOVAS has carried out 31,370 accompanied transports (with a total mileage of 741,075 km) and aided close to 6000 clients in vulnerable situations. Looking forward to expanding their team and broadening the accessibility of their services, ABOVAS is currently actively searching for volunteers with a few hours to offer on weekdays and/or weekends for their social and medical accompaniment services.
Volunteers can choose to partake in medical, social, or both types of accompaniments. Medical transport service covers recurring and unplanned appointments to healthcare providers and hospitals on the island of Montreal whereas social accompanied transport cover trips to the grocery store, the pharmacy, malls, post offices, and other appointments. Volunteers also decide how far they are willing to drive on a flexible schedule based on their own availability. Different levels of involvement in this endeavor are all appreciated.
“Essentially, our coordinators send out emails with the requests and they can choose the one(s) that work for their schedule”, specified Monica Farag, the Social Accompaniment Coordinator.
Organized and ran by a close-knit team, the work environment at ABOVAS places the voices and needs of volunteers and clients at the center:
“It is important for us that our clients and volunteers feel safe and supported, and we aim to provide meaningful opportunities for everyone to express themselves and to form connections with the person they help”, further stated Farag.
Therefore, volunteers also play a crucial role by listening and establishing a safe environment while working with (mostly) seniors. A standard accompanied transport includes picking clients up at home, offering support and assistance throughout the appointment, and driving them back home. Some of the essential qualities ABOVAS looks for in a volunteer include being patient, kind, cheerful, respectful, considerate, responsible, and attentive.
Individuals aged 18 and over with an insured car, willing to do a police check (if they do not have one already) with availability during the week are all welcome to apply on ABOVAS’ website at www.abovas.com or by phone at 514-694-3838 (medical) or 514-513-3838 (social).