Did you know that the majority of women who come to Magdalene Serenity House do not have a driver’s license? There are many obstacles that may stand in a resident’s way before obtaining her license, from suspensions to fees. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for our women to find transportation to and from their jobs, classes, and other activities outside of Magdalene.
Liz Sims, Senior Operating Officer, has been in charge of coordinating transportation for residents since the doors to Magdalene Serenity House opened in 2017. During an interview, she discussed the difficult task of finding enough vehicles and drivers to transport residents around town.
“I don’t think we realized the amount of transportation needed,” Sims said. “There are doctor’s appointments, AA meetings, grocery shopping, and jobs…for eight women.”
Reflecting on the process of re-entering society after incarceration, Sims was troubled by the substantial amount of work required to do so. “It’s overwhelming to gauge how an individual recently incarcerated is supposed to get a job and pay off fines to get their license reinstated. It is an extremely difficult feat.”
Despite the barriers, Magdalene strives to help our women get where they need to go and achieve their goals. One of the ways we are able to do this is through our wonderful volunteers. With their assistance, we can get our residents from point A to point B until they are able to complete the required tasks to reinstate their license and save enough money to purchase a vehicle of their own.
Our transportation volunteers are an integral part of our recovery program at Magdalene. Selfless women, like Chrys Horsman, not only help our women get where they need to go, but they are also a significant part of the healing process itself, acting as mentors for our residents. During their rides around Northwest Arkansas, Chrys said she enjoys “sharing their joys and frustrations and just chatting about life in general.” By building these positive, safe and encouraging relationships, our residents are provided yet another layer of support on their path to recovery.
With a small team of staff, the role of volunteers is vital at Magdalene Serenity House. Volunteers, past and present, have been a huge catalyst to our women’s success in achieving independence, often providing support when staff cannot.
For more information on becoming a volunteer driver, contact email@example.com.