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Volunteers of America Receives International Award for Efforts to Meet the Needs of Older LGBT Clients

For Immediate Release

Contact: David Burch
Volunteers of America
(703) 341-5054 or

Alexandria, Va., July 31, 2015 — Volunteers of America, one of the nation’s oldest and largest faith-based human service providers, has been honored with a 2015 Excellence in Ageing Services Award from the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA) in recognition of efforts to tailor senior support services to the needs of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) clients.

The award will be presented at the IAHSA/Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) International Conference in Perth, Australia on Sept. 1, 2015, where senior care organizations from around the world will gather.

Volunteers of America partnered with Training to Serve (TTS) – a nonprofit organization that assists Minnesota senior service providers with education and tools to help meet the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as they age – in an initiative to train all staff in its healthcare, housing and other services serving older adults. All employees in every department, whether they are management or direct care staff, received customized training based on their position’s needs.

“We are honored to be recognized by IAHSA for our efforts to meet the needs of our LGBT older adults and staff across our system of healthcare services,” said Wayne Olson, executive vice president of healthcare operations and development. ”Inclusiveness has always been a cornerstone of Volunteers of America.” 

The training equipped Volunteers of America to provide a more open and accepting environment for LGBT individuals. Measures the organization has taken to be more inclusive include updating terminology in forms and assessments; acquiring photos of same-sex couples for use in marketing materials; obtaining resources specific to LGBT older adults; and implementing online training modules to be completed by staff upon hire and annually.

International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing is a global network of leaders in aging services, housing, research, technology and design. The organization brings together experts from around the world, leads education initiatives and provides a place for innovative ideas in senior care to be born. IAHSA paves the way to improve best practices in aged care so that older people everywhere can live healthier, stronger, more independent lives.

The IAHSA Excellence in Aging Services Award is the most recent recognition Volunteers of America has received for its work with LGBT adults. In 2014, the organization received the Leading Change Innovation Award from LeadingAge Minnesota and the Hobart Jackson Cultural Diversity Award from LeadingAge. LeadingAge is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to making America a better place to grow old.

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About Volunteers of America
Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe and productive lives. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America’s most vulnerable groups, including veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, those recovering from addictions and many others. Through hundreds of human service programs, including housing and health care, Volunteers of America helps more than 2 million people in over 400 communities. Our work touches the mind, body, heart and ultimately the spirit of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services.