I began to volunteer at The Retreat’s shelter a little over ten years ago. There was a different director and a smaller physical space. Times have changed and there’s a new director and the building has expanded to provide larger bedrooms, a big modern kitchen and a great outdoor playground. It reminds me that on average 60% of the shelter’s residents are children.
I have fulfilled many different roles as a volunteer. But the one I have found most rewarding is my current primary responsibility – driving our clients to the Bridgehampton Commons to shop at The Retreat Boutique for clothing and to buy groceries at the supermarket. On these outings, I transport anywhere from one to ten individuals, adults and children.
When I, “The Chauffeur,” drive these women and accompany them to the stores, I learn a tremendous amount about who they are…their taste in clothes, their taste in food, and their ability to help and advise each other. Each and every one is unique. Any stereotypes I may have had are false and shattered.
I have met and gotten to know many women during my time as a volunteer at The Retreat and have witnessed their enormous capacity for growth and change. They are a source of inspiration.