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Cycling Without Age started in Copenhagen in 2012 and now has chapters across 39 countries including New Zealand. I spoke with Elizabeth (Liz) from Cycling Without Age(CWA) Napier, about CWA, volunteering, and the butterfly effect.

Liz is passionate about volunteering and has produced podcasts and written blogs about it. She has been involved as a volunteer with various organisations in different parts of the world. She currently volunteers for Citizens Advice Bureau as well as being a Founding Trustee of CWA Napier. It is clear Liz is very passionate about CWA, and it does sound like a lot of fun.

“We take elderly people who are isolated or immobile and pair them up with a volunteer pilot who takes them out for a ride in a trishaw. Many passengers live alone or in a care or rest home and are no longer able to drive or get out.”

“We couldn’t operate without our volunteer pilots and our passengers would not benefit from the change to their quality of life.”

“We take them out to places they are familiar with, taking it slow, so they can sense the environment, reconnect with their community and be present in the moment. It allows people they meet along the way to interact and it builds relationships between generations, providing opportunities to reconnect and to form new friendships. It allows for opportunities to reminisce, and tell stories. Our pilots will listen, engage and help retain those special memories.”

“All our pilots are volunteers and cyclists. They generously and freely give of their time to enable their passengers to enjoy the chance to feel the wind in their hair. Each of our volunteers does need a certain level of fitness but mostly they love the older generation, have empathy with them and don’t mind being in very close contact as they may need to help them in and out of the trishaw.”

“All our volunteer pilots love to give back, and they love seeing the change in our passengers after being out in the trishaw, their countenance changes, their mood and sense of well being is hugely lifted. By volunteering, people are taking action to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.”

Liz says “There are many benefits from volunteering, and there are many famous quotes about the benefits of volunteering. For me, this quote encapsulates all the benefits in this sentence:

'You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give' - Winston Churchill

Volunteers are priceless and our Volunteers bring local knowledge, enthusiasm and skills to our CWA chapter, and bring their love, respect, their hearts and minds to our passengers.”

Liz spoke about the butterfly effect. “The butterfly effect is a small event that has the potential to majorly influence events in the future. Like a ripple in water, it begins with one small ripple before turning into a chain reaction of many larger ripples. The butterfly effect rests on the notion that the world is deeply interconnected, such that one small occurrence can influence a much larger complex system.

The Butterfly Effect implies that seemingly minor decisions, habits, or experiences such as a trishaw ride, can profoundly impact our emotional well-being and overall quality of life.”

All Cycling Without Age Volunteers are managed through infoodle. Infoodle is a powerful CRM software solution focused on your people and communities. Easily store and track your contact information, manage your communications, and keep accurate, up-to-date records all in one place. Find out more here.