Out of the Shadows
Stories From Those We've Helped
"I needed employment, and traditional employment wasn't working for me. I contend with some mental and physical disabilities. Volunteers of America Pennsylvania helped me build a business plan with five-year projections. They helped me buy products, advertise, get business cards. They have done so much for me. As long as I keep on track, my future looks very bright. If I keep going the way I am, I will be off disability paychecks. My life has changed so much! Volunteers of America has been wonderful. It's been the best thing that's happened to me. I went into business by myself, and now I'm helping others." — Suzanna
“When I was in the Army, every day was planned out. You knew exactly what your job was, what you were to do. You were housed, fed and followed orders. Life became more complicated when I got out of the service. I sometimes felt guilt and depression for my part in Desert Storm.
There were some rough times, and when my son and I became homeless, we ended up in a shelter. A VA caseworker referred me to Volunteers of America. Now I am back on my feet and in my own home. I feel safe and secure and I'm still very proud to have served my country, and thank every veteran I meet for their service, too."
"I've been a cook all of my life. Somewhere along the way, I decided to dabble in drinking. I was in and out of rehabs before I was 18 years old. At Volunteers of America Southwest, I had the opportunity to pay it forward and make a difference doing what I love to do — cooking and giving back, trying to make a difference, even in one person's life. I finish each day thinking, "Who did I talk to today, who did I offer my hand up to today?" I often say, when I used to work in the restaurant business, I worked for "The Man;" now, at Volunteers of America I'm working for man." — Chris
“I didn't know what to expect on my way to Camp Hope. But when I got there, it really felt comforting to be with other kids who had gone through the same traumatic things I went through. It was good to find out the things that happened in my family weren't my fault.
The Volunteers of America camp helped me find the right perspective. I want to go back to school now, and become a school counselor to help other kids like me, or someday work for Volunteers of America. I really want to help others."
"Volunteers of America Utah secured a bed for me when I was homeless. I was safe there. I started volunteering, helping people. I became the door monitor. When kids had birthdays, I would order cakes for the kids and find toys for them. Today they call me Auntie Mary. I have a reason to get up every day and enjoy life. I think that I owe a lot of who I am today to Volunteers of America and the support staff. I don't want to give up a chance to give back to the people who helped me."— Mary
“Without Volunteers of America, I don't know what I would have done. They gave more assistance than anyone in helping me move forward with my life. They provided counseling for me, and my family. Now, I have a job and a home for my children. I love my kids. They are my world. Volunteers of America made it possible to keep us together."
"I got kicked out of my father's house. I was homeless. Volunteers of America Utah helped me find shelter and then a permanent place to stay, a safe place to talk to people who listen. I have a three-month-old daughter. She is a miracle from God. They've helped with clothing, with diapers. It's a blessing. I have so many plans for what I want to do with my daughter. I think about the kind of dad I want to be every day. Now I have support. Volunteers of America sees a lot of potential in me, and if I can help someone learn from my experience, I'm going to do it."— Gabriel
“My relationship with Ruth Ann is a special one. I have learned so much from her. She is legally blind and deaf, but you'd never know it. Her life is busy with work, friends and lots of outside activities. She likes to get up, make her bed and do as much as she can on her own. She is very independent.
My role as a Volunteers of America caregiver is to be there for her and fill in the blanks. Ruth Ann makes my job a joy. She has a great sense of humor and we laugh a lot. We are family." — Shauna