The following information is an important news release from CAA about their new volunteer driver recognition program that we as MASC have been instrumental in helping to get started. For more detailed information about this program please visit the CAA website.

The full news release can be read below.

CAA Manitoba is proud to introduce Driving Angels – Manitoba’s first-ever volunteer driver recognition program.

“In Manitoba, there are hundreds of volunteers working through various organized driving programs to help seniors get where they need to go,” said Mike Mager, President and CEO of CAA Manitoba. “There are also thousands more Manitobans who help out friends and family in this way, but on an informal basis. All of these people deserve recognition for their selfless contribution to the community. That’s exactly what our Driving Angel program aims to do.”

A Driving Angel is a volunteer driver who offers peace of mind to seniors by helping them get to medical appointments, shop for groceries or attend social functions. This recognition program was originally created by the Alberta Motor Association, a sister club to CAA Manitoba. Here in Manitoba, it was developed by CAA in consultation with Transportation Network Options for Seniors (T.O.N.S.), Manitoba Association of Seniors Centres (M.A.S.C.), the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and seniors councils from around the province.

Mager said access to alternative transportation is essential for independence and well-being. CAA Manitoba wants to help encourage more people to become volunteer drivers as our population ages.

Mayor Sam Katz endorsed the program, and agreed that access is an issue many Winnipeggers face.

“I applaud CAA Manitoba for launching the Driving Angels program to recognize the everyday heroes in our community,” said Mayor Sam Katz. “It could be something as simple as a trip to the grocery store, but for a senior who doesn’t drive, or has given up his or her vehicle, a ride can mean the world.”
Joyce Rose knows firsthand how important it is to recognize volunteer drivers for their efforts.

“I’ve been a volunteer driver for 30 years, and it has always been a very rewarding experience,” said Rose. “As long as I have time to share, I’m going to continue to help my peers maintain their freedom by helping them get to where they need to go.”

A Driving Angel can be anyone: a neighbour, friend, family member, or someone from a pre-established volunteer driving program. All nominated Driving Angels will receive a personalized thank you letter, an official certificate of recognition and a limited edition Driving Angel pin – that is sent to the nominator, who will then make the presentation to their own angel.

Anyone can nominate a Driving Angel on the CAA website, or by picking up a nomination form at a CAA Service Centre, or their local Senior Resource Centre.