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Archive for January, 2011

A new year is upon us and it’s hard to believe that I’ve already been in this position as Volunteers of America’s national president for six months.  Like many of you, I look upon this time of renewal and rebirth as an opportunity to improve some things about myself and leave some other things back in 2010.

But of course, making a resolution is always the easy part; it’s keeping the resolution over the long term that’s the challenge.

The true challenges arise after the initial crisis dies down. We’ve seen this many times when large-scale disaster strikes. Whether it was New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Thailand after the tsunami or Haiti after the latest earthquake, the outpouring of support and assistance eventually fades while the needs remain.

I recently visited a Volunteers of America emergency homeless shelter in Arlington, Virginia. Like shelters nationwide, they were preparing to expand the number of bed available in anticipation of the cold winter months ahead. The recent harsh weather with heavy snow in many areas of the country has made this kind of shelter all the more important. But we must remember that the needs of these people continue long after temperatures rise in the spring and the initial emergency is over.

At Volunteers of America, we have spent the past 115 years serving our clients over the long haul. We know that most people’s needs are not fulfilled with a single meal or a few nights in a homeless shelter. They often require a series of services that help them gradually rebuild their lives and ultimately become self-sufficient. I like to think that people know they can depend on us, and that we won’t let them down when they still have needs to be met.

The people we serve deserve better than a quick New Year’s resolution to help that eventually gives way to other priorities. They need to know that someone will continue to be there for them. At Volunteers of America, we will continue to answer the call to service – throughout 2011 and beyond.

– By Mike King, National President and CEO, Volunteers of America

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