Archive for June, 2011

During Volunteers of America’s first years in the early 20th century, our founders and their faithful followers adhered to the tenet “to go wherever we are needed and do whatever comes to hand.” More than a century later, this philosophy continues to guide Volunteers of America’s ministry of service.

You may have noticed that the programs and services provided by Volunteers of America in one part of the country can look completely different than those offered in another. Our approach is to assess the more than 400 communities we serve individually, identifying each one’s unique unaddressed needs We understand that a one-size-fits-all solution is not the best way to help those in need. Because all people and all communities are different, that’s the only way to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of those we serve.

The professional staff at Volunteers of America is really a 16,000-member family, and as you know, a family’s greatest strength is in its diversity. We’re experts in the needs of children, low-income families, the elderly, the homeless, veterans, those with disabilities and the incarcerated. We also understand that to fix many problems, we must help multiple groups and address multiple needs at the same time, taking a comprehensive approach that ultimately builds stronger communities.

And while we’re a national organization, we know that our work is most effective when it’s done locally. Examples of this can be found in places like Sioux Falls, S.D., where Volunteers of America recently hosted its national conference. While many of the problems in that community, such as poverty and substance abuse, are the same as in other places where we have a presence, the unique people in this community come with their own unique issues that must be considered. In South Dakota, Volunteers of America is a leader in providing services specifically to the Native American population, and we incorporate our clients’ culture into the services they receive.

Volunteers of America has always been a national organization providing services that meet local needs. In an age when taking a custom approach to anything has become increasingly rare, we strive to make sure our clients receive care that fits their unique individual needs. The people we help deserve more than just a cookie cutter solution to their problems. We make sure that they get the best individualized care possible. At Volunteers of America, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

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