Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category

Helping America’s Most Vulnerable™

Little Boy Client of Volunteers of America

Recently, Volunteers of America adopted a new tagline to describe our organization – “Helping America’s most vulnerable.” For an organization as large and diverse as ours, it’s never easy to decide on a simple statement that accurately describes the full scope of our service mission. It must be accurate and compelling without being too specific. With this new tagline, we acknowledge that we are focused specifically on the needs of people within the United States and we help vulnerable individuals in all their many forms, rather than focusing on just one group such as seniors or those experiencing homelessness. Often, the Americans we serve are those with which other charities hesitate to get involved.

Service to others should be part of everyone’s life. All over the country, wherever Volunteers of America has a presence, people from the local community are an important part of the work we do to help those who need us. For instance, many of our affiliates recently concluded another successful year of Operation Backpack, an annual initiative to collect school supplies and backpacks for homeless children heading back to school. In New York City, the largest of these efforts, an army of local volunteers and corporate sponsors helped collect a record 18,400 backpacks this year, which are now being distributed to 150 homeless shelters in the city.

Also underway is the annual Celebration of Service, a two-month effort to build and improve housing for homeless veterans. Volunteers of America has partnered with The Home Depot Foundation® at almost two dozen locations nationwide as part of this effort. Thousands of Team Depot associate volunteers will join others in their communities for projects like painting, landscaping and building recreation equipment, which will help improve the lives of veterans served by Volunteers of America. This year, The Home Depot Foundation plans to build or renovate more than 1,000 homes for veterans and their families, working with us and other partner nonprofit organizations.

We offer lot of ways for everyone to serve their communities by helping America’s most vulnerable. For more information about ways you can help Volunteers of America serve those in need, please visit www.voa.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer.

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

Read Full Post »

Senior Female Client

The old cliché goes that “it takes a village” to help those in need. This originally referred to children, but it could also apply to low-income families, homeless veterans, frail seniors or any of the other people served by an organization like Volunteers of America. There is no way that one organization, even a very large organization, could make a lasting difference in the lives of all these people by itself. Our efforts are enriched by combining expertise and resources (both financial and human) with a variety of partners to tackle problems collectively.

Volunteers of America depends on a number of partners, both nationally and at our local affiliates, to amplify our efforts. We work closely with The Home Depot® Foundation to provide supportive housing to homeless veterans and their families. Through the Team Depot initiative, associates from the company’s stores have become a supplemental workforce across the country helping to improve housing in addition to providing donated supplies. Another partner, CBS EcoMedia®, has also provided volunteers and other resources to make Volunteers of America housing more environmentally friendly while also more comfortable and welcoming for residents. One of our oldest national partnerships, with the Major League Baseball Players Trust, has inspired more than 65,000 high school students to volunteer in their communities since 2002, helping over 205,000 people in need.

And it’s not just large corporations that support our work. We are always looking for local community partners to help with product donations, financial support, volunteer engagement and raising awareness. Many of our clients would not receive the help they need without the involvement of these valued partners. To learn more about how community and corporate partners support the work of Volunteers of America, as well as ways to get involved, visit http://www.voa.org/Get-Involved/Be-a-Partner.

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

Read Full Post »

Need Knows No Season

December Blog Post
Every year, starting in the middle of November, I’m frustrated and disappointed by the amount of attention given to Black Friday and the material aspects of Christmas. Most of the time, when people camped out in front of stores on Thanksgiving are interviewed about their motivations, they talk about buying things for themselves rather than using the holiday sales to buy gifts for others.

The spirit of Christmas is not about buying the latest electronic gadget or going to parties. This is a time when we reflect on those who may not be able to afford presents under the Christmas tree, or who will be separated from loved ones during the holiday. It is a time of generosity toward others by giving of one’s spirit, not just giving material things. This is a time when we hold our loved ones close and celebrate the blessings we have been given.

That’s not to say that many people don’t give generously of themselves, both financially and with their time and efforts, during this time to help others. But it’s also a shame that so many people wait until the Christmas season to demonstrate this spirit of generosity. Need knows no season, and the people we serve turn to us for help all 12 months of the year. While the economy shows signs of improvement and unemployment appears to be dropping, many Americans still struggle to see the light at the end of the economic tunnel. And these people will still need help come March or April, long after the Christmas season has passed.

The importance of donations from individuals can never be overstated. Philanthropy makes a critical difference in the lives of people we serve. It helps us fill gaps in existing funding to create new services in response to emerging needs. Our nation has a strong tradition of giving that has broadened access to health and human services, fostered an appreciation for our history and cultural heritage, advanced scientific and medical research, and supported a variety of other programs vital to the health of our nation.

During the Christmas season, or any time of year, we at Volunteers of America hope everyone remembers the true spirit of giving and focuses on helping those in need.

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

Read Full Post »

Home Depot Volunteers Helping at a Veterans Park

One of the best parts of my job is the instant gratification I receive from meeting the people whose lives we work to transform every day. An administrative job, especially a top-level one, can often be a sterile, detached experience, so it’s always a great joy for me to visit our programs and witness the life-changing service being performed by thousands of Volunteers of America employees.

But this kind of work need not be only a full-time job. Service to others should be part of everyone’s life, whenever they can find the time to fit it in. All over the country, wherever Volunteers of America has a presence, people from the local community are an important part of the work we do to help those who need us. For instance, many of our affiliates recently concluded another successful year of Operation Backpack®, an annual initiative to collect school supplies and backpacks for homeless children heading back to school. In New York City, the largest of these efforts, an army of local volunteers and corporate sponsors helped collect a record 13,000 backpacks this year, which are now being distributed to 150 homeless shelters in the city.

Also underway is the annual Celebration of Service, a two-month effort to build and improve housing for homeless veterans. Volunteers of America has partnered with The Home Depot Foundation at almost a dozen locations nationwide as part of this effort. Hundreds of Team Depot associate volunteers will join others in their communities for projects like painting, landscaping and building recreation equipment, which will help improve the lives of veterans served by Volunteers of America.

We’re always on the lookout for new ideas to help even more people in need. At the beginning of October, Volunteers of America will launch a new application on our national Facebook page offering members of the public the opportunity to submit ideas to serve veterans in their own communities. Our vets are returning home in record numbers and face unique challenges in every region of the country. We need to give back, and you have the power to help a vet or vets in your area. We ask you to please share your ideas for how you’ll help veterans. By contributing to this important conversation, you might get the chance to receive $1,000 to make your idea reality.

To submit an idea starting in early October, visit www.facebook.com/VolOfAmerica. For more information about other ways you can help Volunteers of America serve those in need, please visit www.voa.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer.

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

Read Full Post »

Mike King, National President and CEO, Volunteers of America

The work we perform at Volunteers of America is centered on people who give their hearts, minds and spirits to our mission to help those most in need. This includes two special groups of people – those who work for our organization as employees, and those unpaid people engaged in what we think of more traditionally as “volunteer work.” Both groups working together are essential to the success of our programs and ensuring that our clients receive care that’s well-rounded.

Our volunteers also provide a much-needed connection to local communities. Volunteer involvement allows us to introduce the needs of our clients to those who might not know fully understand the extent of hunger or homelessness in their backyards – and in the process, make sure our clients don’t remain hidden and invisible.

Nationally, we depend on an army of nearly 65,000 volunteers who offer their free time to support our programs nationwide. These volunteers provided more than 900,000 hours of service during 2011 alone, performing work such as delivering Meals on Wheels; providing administrative support such as answering phones; collecting food or clothing; and providing professional services such as legal counsel, public relations, training and motivational speaking.

That’s not to say we’re only staffed by volunteers … despite common confusion about our name. Most Volunteers of America programs are staffed by a family of 16,000 full-time, paid professionals who have adopted a mission of service as their full-time job. This approach reflects our century-long history. When Volunteers of America was founded 116 years ago, the term “volunteer” had a very different meaning than it does today. Our name related back to our historical ties to the Salvation Army and their pseudo-military terminology. The early members of our movement thought of their involvement as a full-time, life-long endeavor.

While few people in 1896 spent their spare time volunteering to help others, I’m pleased to say that today community service has become quite common. Today, we continue to keep the spirit of our founders alive by fostering a new generation of volunteers and encouraging people of all ages to make service to others a lifelong priority. Only by all of us working together – trained professionals and everyday folks – that we will be able to make a real difference in the lives of all those who need our help.

For more information on how to get involved with a Volunteers of America program in your community, visit http://www.voa.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer/Everyone_Can_Help.

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

Read Full Post »

Inspiration for Recovery

As a long-time fan of the Texas Rangers, I’ve been deeply inspired by the story of outfielder Josh Hamilton, a promising young ballplayer whose career almost came to an end because of an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Hamilton ultimately left professional baseball for several seasons while he tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to battle his personal demons and undergo treatment for his addictions. He credits his faith in God for ultimately helping him overcome his troubles, return to the sport he loves and remain sober for the past five years.

Two years ago, Hamilton demonstrated his recovery on a national stage when he hit 35 home runs during the 2008 All-Star Game Home Run Derby, the second most in derby history. He has been named to the American League All-Star Team for the past three years straight and is expected to win this year’s American League MVP award.

Never shying away from his past, Hamilton has made a point to use his success as an opportunity to share his personal story of faith and redemption and set himself as an example of the power we all have to turn our lives around through hard work and a strong heart. He represents the kind of life changes Volunteers of America works to foster every day in dozens of treatment programs all across the country.

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, and this month in particular we pay tribute to those who Volunteers of America has helped to build successful, happy lives by overcoming their addictions. Our organization is a leader in providing treatment services and offers supportive and residential treatment options to help adolescents, adults and their families to experience life without addiction and to become contributing members of their community.

Josh Hamilton’s level of success is unusual, but it shows the potential in all those battling addiction to embrace recovery and accomplish something extraordinary.

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

Read Full Post »

As the newly appointed President and CEO of Volunteers of America, I am thrilled and honored to be assuming this humbling role with one of America’s leading human service ministries. Our faith-based organization has been serving the most vulnerable citizens of this great country for more than 100 years. Whether by providing safe, affordable housing for a 79 year-old grandmother, shelter and job training for a homeless veteran or showing an at-risk youth the road out of substance abuse and poverty, we have always answered the call to demonstrate God’s love through compassionate human service.

We are challenged now with dramatically rising needs against a backdrop of declining tax revenues, resulting in wide-spread budget cuts and diminished financial resources. At the same time funding is being cut, Volunteers of America programs are seeing more people than ever turn to us for help.

Of course, we have seen all this before. In the spirit that guided our efforts to lift up the hopes and outcomes of the most vulnerable during the Great Depression, Volunteers of America once again is relying on resourcefulness, innovation, efficiency and faith to serve 2 million people in more than 400 towns and cities across America. Our nationwide team of more than 16,000 staff, countless volunteers and community collaborators believe deeply in the mission of this organization and are committed to bringing the necessary services and creative solutions to today’s problems. We will emerge from this challenging time stronger and more capable of serving those who need us.

As I visit my Volunteers of America colleagues working in the trenches around the country, I am reminded of the intense dedication, finely honed skills and loving spirit manifested by these staff and volunteers. They affirm the healing power of the human spirit and inspire hope in everyone they touch. Volunteers of America is blessed to have them carrying out our mission on a daily basis, and these dedicated souls deserve the best resources and support we can provide.

Please join us as a donor, volunteer or advocate and help Volunteers of America raise its profile as a premier provider and innovative problem solver for our clients throughout the country. You may never meet the person you help, but they will never forget how that support changed their life. Thank you and may God bless this important work.

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »