• 125 Faces of VOA

For 125 years, Volunteers of America has worked on the frontlines of service to help countless people in need. During 2021, for our milestone anniversary, we will share the faces and stories of the varied people who have benefited from this work, as well as the many VOA workers who have dedicated themselves to service to others.

  • Finn_2_20_1_.jpg

    Finn

    “The bottom fell out when the pandemic hit ... I was on the verge of homelessness for the second time in my life.”

    Read Finn's Story
  • chris-hatch-02_20_1_.jpg

    Chris

    “My mom got WIC when we were kids. I’ve had just buttered noodles for dinner or chili all week. I understand.”

    Read Chris's Story
  • Patrick_2_20_1_.jpg

    Patrick

    “One of the staff members recently said, ‘It’s tenants like Patrick, that makes serving others a treasure.’”

    Read Patrick's Story
  • Al_Payne_1.jpg

    Al

    “I have always been taught that God has a ram in the bush. Moving to Eagle’s Landing under VOA Southeast has taught me that he has a whole herd of rams.”

    Read Al's Story
  • Crystal_20Mathias_20photo.jpg

    Crystal

    “I am extremely worried about the long-term effects the pandemic will have on healthcare professionals, including myself. I fear that there may be a shortage of professionals in the next 3-5 years because of burnout.”

    Read Crystal's Story
  • Renee_20Hope_20Manor_20photo.jpg

    Renee

    “Then, when he became abusive to our oldest son, I knew that I was not going to subject my children to what I had experienced as a teenager from my stepfather. I chose to leave.”

    Read Renee's Story
  • Susan_20Major_20and_20Simba_20photo.jpg

    Susan

    “In October, 2017, I lost my three sons—Erik, 16; Devon, 12; and Ezekiel, 7 to a senseless act of violence.”

    Read Susan's Story
  • DIdi_20photo_Small.jpg

    Didi

    “When I finally told some of my friends that I lived in a shelter, they couldn’t believe it. I thought they’d see me as an outcast but they didn’t.”

    Read Didi's Story
  • Zella_20Richards_20photo.jpg

    Zella

    “If you go back on your side of town, you will die.”

    Read Zella's Story
  • Katrina_20Gordon_20photo.jpg

    Katrina

    “I knew that I had to get out of my living situation, but the fear of homelessness worried me more than living in the abuse.”

    Read Katrina's Story
  • Christa_20Coats_20photo.jpg

    Christa

    “Throughout the pandemic, as parts of our programs had to close down and we had to shift, the greatest thing is the way we have all worked together.”

    Read Christa's Story
  • Heaven_20photo.JPG

    Heaven

    “When I was just two years old, I started learning braille so that I could help my dad. When he realized my interest in learning, he poured every dollar and every ounce of his energy into ensuring that I would get a fair chance at success.”

    Read Heaven's Story
  • Robert_20VOAGNY_20photo.jpg

    Robert

    “My life fell apart to the point where I became homeless, and even lost contact with my daughter, which will always be the biggest regret of my life.”

    Read Robert's Story
  • Kumaria_20Garrett_20photo.jpg

    Kumaria

    “We make a difference in the lives of the people we serve but they make a difference in our lives as well.”

    Read Kumaria's Story
  • Chaly_20Downs_20photo.jpg

    Chaly

    “I realized through all of this that for families, incarceration is just as bad for the children as it is for the parent.”

    Read Chaly's Story
  • Pam_20Shilts_20photo.jpg

    Pam

    “I’m exhausted at the end of most days ... I worry that we will lose some nurses because they will feel they no longer can give anything else for a while.”

    Read Pam's Story
  • Kirby_20and_20Marisol_20photo.jpg

    Kirby

    “I’ve come such a long way since I was that shy toddler all those years ago.”

    Read Kirby's Story
  • Natasha_20Edwards_20photo.jpg

    Natasha

    “This isn’t a job for everybody. You really have to have a passion to do this. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

    Read Natasha's Story
  • Lennox_20image_Small.jpg

    Lenox

    “At two months, he was diagnosed with leukemia and given just two weeks to live. With experimental chemotherapy, he survived.”

    Read Lenox's Story
  • Brittany_20image_Small.jpg

    Brittany

    “Who would have thought that something as simple as making a bed every day could be so life-changing?”

    Read Brittany's Story
  • Sasha_20image_Small.jpg

    Sasha

    “It has brought me great joy knowing I was able to have a positive impact on a young life.”

    Read Sasha's Story
  • Barbara, pictured far right

    Barbara

    “I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of the Puerto Rican residents we helped. In a senior facility with 240 elderly and disabled individuals, there were no complaints when we arrived, only thanks and warm smiles.”

    Read Barbara's Story
  • Steve_20Dooley_20image_Small.jpg

    Steve

    “For me, what I still find unbelievable is that I became homeless. I was educated and had a long work history.”

    Read Steve's Story
  • Boyd, pictured right

    Boyd

    “When I played at Volunteers of America’s GolfStar Classic with my son, Tom, to support the VOA adoption program, few realized that we were far more invested in the program than others.”

    Read Boyd's Story
  • James_20Perkins_20photo_Small.jpg

    James

    “I’ve always loved helping people. Having been in a situation where I had to depend on others has made me more determined to continue to help people as much as I can.”

    Read James' Story
  • Ralph_20Liggins_20image_Small.jpg

    Ralph

    “I was thinking that it would be easy to get back on my feet. It wasn’t that easy.”

    Read Ralph's Story
  • Wayne_20Miller_20image_Smaller.jpg

    Wayne Miller

    “Treatment is for a season, but God and recovery are for a lifetime.”

    Read Wayne's Story
  • Al_20Peratt_20photo_Small.jpg

    Pastor Al

    “I was the first ex-con to be allowed Chaplaincy at the same prison that locked me up for years.”

    Read Pastor Al's Story
  • Charmaine_20Denise_20photo_Small.jpg

    Charmaine

    “This time around I saw I needed help and eventually sought out the help for myself because it was the first time I felt people around me genuinely wanted to see me win.”

    Read Charmaine's Story
  • Wayne_20GBR_20image_Small.jpg

    Wayne

    “The hospital staff tells me that I have a great, positive attitude. The staff and nurses made me a special ‘Best Patient Award’.”

    Read Wayne's Story
  • Christina_20Compton_20image_Small.jpg

    Christina

    “Every day, I’m helping women just like me. As the Intake Specialist, I’m like the front door. And I can relate to people because I’ve been there.”

    Read Christina's Story
  • Lloyd_20Simmons_20image_Small.jpg

    Lloyd

    “Getting the chance to help others makes me feel truly blessed every day.”

    Read Lloyd's Story
  • Sheila_20ONeil_20image_Small.jpg

    Sheila

    “This just shows how the things we do outside of our own paid professions can contribute to our preparedness at work.”

    Read Sheila's Story
  • Kelly_20image_Small.jpg

    Kelly

    “I did not go home to my family for over 2 months, just because I wanted to keep them safe. I’ve missed my loved ones and my home.”

    Read Kelly's Story
  • Holland_20Family_20image_Small.jpg

    Holland Family

    “I’m so grateful that we trusted our gut and started fostering the twins as babies because they gave us our forever family.”

    Read the Hollands' Story