“As I think about why I drive for Via, I keep coming back to the idea that this work is rewarding because it gives me the opportunity to be connected, and to give back to my community,” Via driver Mark Conlin told us recently.
A wildlife photographer by trade, Mark had never been a driver for another organization or worked in a service capacity before coming to Via.
Driver Mark Conlin
“The photography work is great,” Mark said. “But it tends to be very busy for three, four months out of the year, then slows down to virtually nothing for the rest of the year. I wanted something rewarding to do during the downtime.
“I spoke to my neighbor, who is a professor at CU (University of Colorado-Boulder). I told him I was looking to find work that provided an element of service, and a certain level of responsibility. I thought he might know of some work I could do for the university. Instead, he suggested I contact Via, to see if they could use my help.
“When I was hired, I expected to ‘just drive.’ I thought I’d have long, quiet hours behind the wheel, driving a lot of different individuals – strangers – around Boulder and surrounding communities. I was surprised to find that, while I meet new people almost daily, mostly I’m seeing many of the same people over and over again. You become friends; you have wonderful conversations. You care about and become involved in your clients’ lives.”
It’s always laughing and good times, when Mark drives Via Client, Martha Brown, to and from her appointments.
The Driver-Client Relationship is Key
“I think the key element at the core of the organization is the driver-client relationship. We provide a human touch. Clients are relieved when we show up – they feel safe and cared-for. We make sure they get where they need to go.
“The thing is, you don’t decide to drive for a community-supporting non-profit if your goal is to make a lot of money,” Mark said as he smiled. Driving for Via provides a real, hands-on level of helping people, not just saying that you do. We do so much more than just provide a ride! Clients are always telling me they couldn’t live without Via.
“There’s an inherent sense of caring that permeates the driver pool. I notice examples of this during driver meetings: when a question is asked, everyone’s comments are about being concerned, about solving the problem, about how to meet clients’ needs.
“Personally, I’m drawn to the element of service and being connected to my community. We’re in the community, connected to Boulder. I mean, I’m in there with my clients, involved in their lives. I’m carrying groceries and going with them in and out of doctor’s offices.
“We (Via) fill a need for the community. Particularly after the hospital on Broadway closed* – doctor’s offices became more dispersed throughout the city. People who already had mobility challenges now had to figure out how to get to their doctor’s appointments to receive medical care. Clients tell me all the time – “I don’t know what I would do without Via.”
Mark has noticed that the community gives back to Via as well. “We call it ‘bus-ma,’ like ‘karma,’ only with a bus,” Mark says with a grin. “Other folks on the road let you in when they see it’s a Via bus. Everybody supports us and helps us help others.
“I also like that it (the work done by Via Mobility Services) is non-discriminatory. We help so many different people in Boulder and surrounding communities – and that feels really good!
About working for Via Mobility Services
If you’re seeking rewarding work and the opportunity to stay connected with – and give back to – your community, perhaps being a driver for Via Mobility Services is the right choice for you. Via’s a vibrant, accomplished nonprofit with a culture built on four key values – teamwork, honesty, integrity and a passion for helping others. Learn more or apply today at Via Career Opportunities.
*From 1922 until 2014, Boulder Community Hospital (BCH), at Broadway and Balsam, served as Boulder’s main acute care hospital. On October 9, 2014, the Emergency Dept. at BCH closed. BCH consolidated the majority of inpatient acute care services at Foothills Hospital in east Boulder. This included surgery, imaging and laboratory services, and inpatient care for patients with heart disease, cancer, neurological issues and orthopedic injuries. There were no changes in the range of services available, only the location. This was part of a consolidation of services at Foothills Hospital, which is now Boulder’s main acute care hospital and a regional trauma center.