You’ve heard of the musical quartet geniuses that are The Beatles, the group of four eccentric scientists who investigate the supernatural in Ghostbusters, and our newest ‘Awesome Foursome’ swimming sensations – the Australian Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay team. But have you heard of the most famous tetrad of the driving world?
Meet George, Michael, Robert and Steve, between them they have volunteered more than 5,000 hours and 20 years of experience as driver-mentors for the Wheels in Motion program in Playford. These men help learner drivers clock up the hours needed to obtain their probationary license or ‘Ps’.
George Shaw, a driver mentor of seven years, said program participants were always very appreciative. “Some students say ‘if my family could see me now, they would not believe I am doing this’ – you just think how much we take that for granted,” George reminisced.
Each year up to 30 students participate in the program with a 95 percent success rate of those who go on to pass their Ps. “At one stage we were averaging one student passing every two weeks – 28 students per year,” George said.
And much like George, the other volunteers have kept coming back for the fulfilment of seeing others from diverse backgrounds succeed. “I get as much of a kick out of teaching as they do learning how to drive,” mentor driver Steve Wilson said. “It’s really interesting to meet people from all parts of the world and learn about their aspirations.” Robert Grimm added: “You’ve been with them for so long, they have to do 70 odd hours driving, and to see the participants get their license and they are all smiling and happy – it’s great.”
But not only do these new drivers end up getting their license, they often learn important life skills that help these community members thrive in all aspects of their life. “They learn how to drive, at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about, but they also get life skills,” volunteer Michael Doherty said. “I think we teach them life skills along the way – the driving parts easy, it’s how to navigate the road, which is the hard part.” Steve added: “You know they are off and they can do what they want, they have their independence.”