One day in early 2014, Dr. Guertin of Sparrow Hospital, called Pam, now executive director, about a young refugee who was “profoundly ill” and needed immediate dialysis several times a week.
Pam and 4 quickly-recruited volunteers drove Rebecca and her family back and forth to St. Lawrence 3 times a week for 3-4 hour appointments for about a year.
Rebecca’s family spoke no English, had many younger children to care for, and were trying to learn about living in Lansing.
Likewise, Rebecca's family had much to teach. Lessons learned from the numerous challenges became the now 40-page manual that all new volunteer drivers receive. It is the core material for new driver trainings.
Rebecca is a cornerstone of The Davies Project. With her family, she helped to jump-start the development of the program and The Davies Project is grateful.
Today, Rebecca is a healthy 20-year-old. She received a new kidney and no longer needs rides. Dr. Guertin unequivocally credits volunteer drivers from The Davies Project for saving Rebecca’s life
I remember our first ride with The Davies Project. Vergil was our volunteer driver. I had my son, who was 8 months old, and my daughter, who was 3 years old, and I was grabbing diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, changes of clothes, and stuff for a 3 year old to do. It was a crazy house. I felt overwhelmed. When Vergil came to my door, he said "Hello I'm Vergil, with The Davies Project. I will be your driver for today. Can I help you with anything?"
At that moment I was lost for words. No one had asked me if I needed help in a long time. Everything was focused around the care and needs of my son. I was so use to doing it by myself. It felt so nice to have someone ask me, "Can I help you?" Our family will always be grateful for TDP and their many volunteer drivers like Vergil.
I would like to thank all The Davies Project volunteers for being the epitome of More Than Just a Ride.
The thing I cherished the most is the companionship that each volunteer gives. When you are sitting in that waiting area and you're looking around at all the other families, sometimes you find yourself a little discouraged and filled with negative thoughts - "Will this treatment work?" or "What if it doesn't? Then what?"
Volunteer drivers that sit with you provide an escape from those negative feelings. It is a great feeling to have someone to talk to. Someone to help turn those negatives into positives.
The Davies Project Board of Directors
The Davies Project has been very, very near to my heart especially this past year. It's been a rough year for my daughter and I. Azyahnna was born with a birth injury called brachial plexus which is when babies are basically born with either a stretch or a tear to some of their nerves for being large babies. They either get stuck in the birth canal or have to be cut out. So she has had a very, very rough time.
Leaving the hospital I knew that she would have a number of appointments. I wasn't sure how I was going to get her there but again we were blessed to have The Davies Project.
I found out about The Davies Project through the previous coordinator, Dionta Brown. He came to Hannah's House which is a maternity shelter that I was living in at the time. He got myself, as well as all the other women, signed up for rides to prenatal appointments which was very much appreciated because a lot of those women, like myself, would not have made some of those appointments, had we not had The Davies Project volunteers.
This brings me to some experiences I had with drivers. Mr. Nestell took me to a prenatal appointment but they took me straight to labor and delivery. He was waiting in the lounge and when I finally could, I called him to let him know there was a baby on board!
To this day he still picks up our rides and opens his heart to my family. He has watched my daughter grow throughout this year and we really appreciate him as well as a number of drivers.
Miss Kathy has also opened her heart to my family and it has turned into more than a drive. She helped to bless us with a table. I didn't have a table in my new house to sit down and eat and she opened her heart and blessed us with that. Something that would seem so small to everyone else is so big to me and my family.
She picks up rides for us, she's taking us to Ann Arbor tomorrow - an appointment that I thought I would have to cancel. And I don't have to.
We've always been greeted by smiling faces when it comes to The Davies Project volunteers. Azyahnna has not missed any appointments due to transportation since she was born just over a year ago.
We are very, very thankful for The Davies Project and its volunteers. I really don't know what we would do without you and it is my hope that this wonderful organization can be continuously supported in this community because it's needed for the children.
I first learned about The Davies Project from my home nurse. She told us all about it and thought we'd be a perfect match. Once I looked it over online, my nurse helped us set it all up and start our first ride.
Both The Davies Project and drivers William & Kathy have been beyond wonderful!
I honestly don't know what I would do without The Davies Project. It would have been unbelievably hard to have a healthy pregnancy for us. I was considered a high risk pregnancy so getting to and from 2 different appointments a week would have never been manageable. I would never have been able to afford that many cab rides! Being able to make every appointment kept my baby and me safe throughout the 9 months.
Now I have a perfectly healthy baby boy who couldn't be cuter!! I'm so blessed we were able to find this service. I will never be able to repay them for what they have done for me and my perfect baby. I hope they continue to help mothers during their pregnancy as they helped me.
It took a long time for my son's doctor to look into my concerns about his abnormal tilt of his head. We later found out that he had a moderate case of tortacollis. He needed extensive physical and occupational therapy to correct it. I was a mom of two at the time. No car. The buses were unreliable as well as the rides the insurance company paid for. I was at a loss until I was introduced to The Davies Project. They made it possible for my son and I to make it to every last one of his appointments.
Now, 2 years later, Nathan is an outgoing, loving and playful boy. He is able to run, jump and wrestle with his father and brother and many other things. Things that, without The Davies Project helping, I do not believe would have been possible for Nathan.
As for me, I always have been and will continue to be grateful for The Davies Project. I am honored to have become a board member to help advocate for families who might be facing similar circumstances as my family did. I could not be more happy. The Davies Project truly does give hope.
I’m a mother of 4 and work as a paralegal. I drive for The Davies Project because I like being part of something that has a positive impact in our community. There’s a saying that we don’t remember days, we remember moments. As driver for The Davies Project, I have met many wonderful children and their families and I always enjoy the rides with children that chatter to me about whatever topic is on their mind at that moment. For one of my first drives, I was helping a mother load her two children, diaper bag and other stuff into my car. This was the first time I had met this family and the mother asked me if I would hold her young son while she buckled her daughter into the car seat. The son immediately snuggled into me and rested his head of soft curls on my shoulder. It was an amazing moment that I haven't forgotten and that memory reminds me why I want to be a volunteer driver.
As much as I would like to change the world, for now, I begin with small changes. Being retired, I have more options to give back to the greater Lansing community in a beneficial way.
My experience driving for The Davies Project has been wonderful! As a pediatric nurse, I saw many challenges faced by families in our community. My interactions with the children and their families has been joyful and further opened my eyes to the challenges faced by many in our community. I was so touched by one particular moment occurred when I walked back to the car with a family. It was our first time together. The little girl reached up to hold my hand which surprised her grandma who said usually she is very reserved.
With several families I have had the pleasure of meeting, I have noticed an increase in confidence to face the challenges of their life. In my humble opinion, I believe the interaction with volunteers from The Davies Project has played an important role in facilitating the change.
I’ll credit Pam Miklavcic and her work and vision for making this happen. Without her, The Davies Project could not and would not exist. Her team - Mary Jo, Joy and Cathy and everyone plays a vital role in moving TDP forward. And while many families still struggle in our community and world, for those we have been able to help, it’s changed their worlds.