ABOVAS Volunteer Louis Thouin
Louis Thouin is retired. He’s never been busier! He’s a volunteer with ABOVAS and also volunteers with Golden Rescue Canada to help people place or adopt golden Labs.
What ABOVAS is – ABOVAS is a non-profit West Island community organization providing free medical transportation and accompaniment, thanks to volunteer drivers, most of whom are seniors. Louis Thouin is one such volunteer. “I love what I’m doing! Everyone is interesting – such great stories and experiences”.
“The keyword is s reassurance”, Louis says. “ABOVAS volunteers stay with patients, as well as accompany them to medical appointments. We don’t just drive, we ‘accompany’ – in every sense of the word – we provide support to clients through what, for some, can be an ordeal”.
How it works – ABOVAS means “Reassurance and safety – police checks of all volunteers; no worries about traffic, timing, cost, parking, finding the department you need to go to. We pick up patients at home, accompany them for duration of the wait and appointment, and drive the client home after”, explains Louis. “We have maps of all the hospitals, are familiar with locations, departments, protocols and procedures. Hospital staff recognize us as ABOVAS volunteers – this can be reassuring to the patients, it helps reduce their stress”.
Why continue to volunteer? – “I stay because I love it! It becomes personal because you get to know the patients – maybe you spend 2-4 hours together, often repeat trips with same people”. Louis often makes two trips a day to the Montreal and local hospitals. “This is meaningful involvement. I love to meet people and make them happy. It’s amazing, so rewarding – seniors are fun!”
What Louis wants people to know about ABOVAS – “It’s hard to ask for help, we’re so proud. It worries me that not everyone is aware of this service. More people need to know about ABOVAS, that help is available”.
ABOVAS provides competence, company, and consideration – this service lightens the load, reduces the stress around medical appointments. Research findings in social psychology repeatedly demonstrate that, given time and social support, people can cope with anything. ABOVAS provides these crucial elements for their clients, thanks to their outstanding volunteers!
Gail Giborski, Volunteer Receptionist at The Teapot 50+ Centre
Gail has really made the reception position her own—she doesn’t just answer the phone and take messages, she truly represents The Teapot and everything we stand for: socialization, camaraderie, neighborliness, and assistance. What’s more, Gail genuinely cares about our members and their wellbeing: whenever there is a member we haven’t seen for some time, Gail will inquire about them and ask around to make sure they are doing well.
Gail on volunteering:“When I volunteer, it gives me a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment. I help, but it makes me feel good. I’d be lost without this.”
“I’ve met so many nice people; I’ve made so many caring friends.”
“There are many Teapot members who are older than me, but they still come out. I realized that you can stay home and isolate yourself and feel bad for yourself, or you can go out and make yourself happy. So that’s what I do. It’s important to do something you enjoy.”