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Archive for January, 2012

As always, the New Year provides an opportunity to look ahead and envision what we would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. This year, we find ourselves looking ahead at a period that could bring with it rapid and profound change. The economy shows signs of a tentative yet uncertain recovery, but problems in Europe threaten to undo the progress made so far.  Elections next fall could significantly change our nation’s leadership. Our nation today could look much different at the end of 2012 than it does today.

Volunteers of America and the people we serve are not immune to this uncertainty and looming change.  The share of our funding coming from government sources continues to shrink and most likely will not return to what it was in the past, even once the economy recovers.  The effects of the recession and long-term unemployment will continue for years, making our services as important as ever. More and more people need our help, and we depend increasingly on the support of individuals and other private donors to make sure our services keep up with demand.  But finding that private support is impossible if people don’t know about Volunteers of America and what we do.

So my number one resolution for 2012 … to make sure the mission and ministry of Volunteers of America becomes more well-known in the minds of all Americans than it ever has been before.

We like to joke that Volunteers of America is the best kept secret in the communities where we work. And historically, that’s been true. But in an age when the needs are so great, and there are so many organizations competing for limited resources, silently going about our work does not serve the best interests of our clients.  To be truly effective in our mission, we must do all we can to let people know that we exist and are here to help. And they need to know not just what we’re doing for those in need, but why we do it.  Our ministry of service and its deeper mission to uplift all people is just as important as a list of our varied services … because it is that mission that truly sets Volunteers of America apart.

In this New Year’s period of renewal and rebirth, my goal is that Volunteers of America emerges as a shining beacon of hope. We can’t be shy or timid about sharing the news of our good works. We must be bold and remove our light from under the bushel, not because of a misguided sense of pride, but because that’s what the people we help deserve.

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

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