More than a mentor: how volunteer drivers are changing lives

More than a mentor: how volunteer drivers are changing lives

How would you feel knowing that you have made a huge positive impact on a person’s life, for just a few hours a week?

Imagine knowing that you had created an opportunity for them to get the job they want and help them stay connected to the people that matter to them. How good would that feel?

For many – especially those living in rural and regional areas – access to transport means access to opportunities.

Public transport isn’t always an option, so having a driver’s licence opens the road to education and employment opportunities.

Here’s how you can help

The ability to drive also offers the chance to stay connected with friends and family when you live far away, but not everyone has access to a licenced driver they can rely on to teach them the ropes. That’s where 120 Countdown comes in.

120 Countdown is a free program connecting learner drivers with volunteer mentors to complete the 120 hours of driving practice needed before they can go for their P-plates. The program provides people with access to driving lessons, opening the door to greater independence and employment opportunities.

What you will get out of it

Tom, a semi-retired baker, found out about the 120 Countdown Program while it was still in its start-up phase in Nambucca Valley. Since then, he’s been an enthusiastic volunteer throughout the onboarding process and has been looking forward to helping drivers achieve their goals. He’s now clocked 10 hours of lessons with local Year 12 student, Ulysses.

Tom, a man in his late 60s, and Ulysses, a younger man, stand facing the camera.

Tom and Ulysses.

But Tom says that the L-Platers aren’t the only ones benefitting from the arrangement – in fact Tom has found a huge amount of personal satisfaction from volunteering.

“There is so much value in helping others,” he says. “Everyone’s a winner.”

What it means to be a mentor

Fellow 120 Countdown volunteer, Geoff agrees.

“I had time on my hands and wanted to give something back and teaching people how to drive is right up my alley,” he says.

“Seeing learners bettering themselves is the best thing – it’s really satisfying to see their personal growth.”

“If you have the time and the ability to volunteer then you will find personal rewards and satisfaction as I have done. At the end of the day you know you have made a real difference to someone’s life.”

Watch our video to see the positive impact 120 Countdown has had on the life of a learner driver and our volunteer mentors.

Become a 120 Countdown volunteer

Volunteer mentors are crucial in delivering our 120 Countdown program and its success could not be achieved without them. To get involved, you’ll just need a full unrestricted licence and a couple of hours a week to commit to regular lessons with a learner driver. Apply now.

Register your interest today.

  • robert lepatu
    Posted at 17:37h, 30 April Reply

    Iam a very experience social worker. I would love to volunteer , to serve and work with Uniting care at any capacity older people, youth and young people, training and mentoring.
    I living in the greater west of Sydney so any volunteering .should you be looking for volunteers Please email me so I can send you my resume and have chat. God bless.Rob

    • Paul Hemsworth
      Posted at 09:29h, 01 May Reply

      Hi Rob,
      Thank you for contacting us and it’s great to hear that you want to volunteer. We’re always looking for enthusiastic people like you. Our volunteers coordinator will reach out to you directly in the next few days.
      Kind regards
      The Uniting team

    Posted at 03:53h, 29 September Reply

    Can you tell us more about this? I’d want to find out more details.

  • Linda Weaving
    Posted at 11:39h, 13 June Reply

    What a fabulous project! Having come from a rural area with no public transport, living on a property 9km out of town, I understand exactly the necessity of and transformative impact of getting a drivers licence as a teenager!

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