Roger Langevin

If laughter truly is the best medicine, then CNIB volunteer driver Roger Langevin must have some of the healthiest passengers around. 

Langevin, 67, has been volunteering with CNIB in Edmonton, Alberta since 1995, and readily admits that his keen sense of humour has been an asset. After he retired from teaching elementary-level French immersion, Roger was eager to stay active and involved in his community and decided to dedicate his energies to his local CNIB, just three blocks from his home.

“I’d never worked with people with vision loss before,” he says, “but I’m an extrovert and I adapted quickly. I love to tease – and I tease everyone!” he laughs.

The people he drives are clearly up to it, and Langevin says he has a great relationship with all of them.

Attitude is everything

“They have great attitudes,” he says with admiration, adding that a sense of humour really helps in dealing with the day-to-day frustrations of getting to medical appointments on time, or shopping for hard-to-find items.

The direct approach

Currently, Langevin’s roster includes four or five “regulars,” as he calls them, most of whom are seniors. People call him directly, rather than being relayed through CNIB’s volunteer coordinator, and Langevin makes himself available for shopping expeditions or trips to medical appointments.

At the moment this is an ideal number for Langevin, as it means he rarely has to turn down a request, and allows him to be flexible in negotiating timetables and schedules with each person directly. Since Langevin enjoys traveling with his wife, the small number of clients also means he can more easily alert each one to an upcoming vacation, allowing them to re-schedule appointments around his absences if they desire.

Volunteers a precious commodity

Langevin, one of only two volunteer drivers for CNIB’s Edmonton office, plans to stay on for as long as he is able, and has considered expanding his attentions to the local Meals on Wheels program, or a food bank. 

There is currently a shortage of volunteers of all types in Edmonton, and Langevin is keenly aware of the demand.