Bright Spots

Do you have a Bright Spot to share? We would love to feature it here. Tell us about a co-worker going above and beyond. Share your bright spots with Doug, Meghan and Mary Ellen at:, and

Two of our Southeastern Kentucky VOA Heroes in our Freedom House, Michelle Baird and Holly Lipps, worked around-the-clock through the ice storm last week caring for the mothers and babies at Freedom House. Thank you Holly and Michelle for going above and beyond for the people we serve. Learn more about them below.

- "Michelle Baird has been employed with VOA Southeastern Kentucky since before we opened the doors over a year ago. She is a huge asset to our team. She goes above and beyond on another level. She goes out of her way to make sure they have birthday party’s, baby showers and any other milestones. She always keeps them busy on weekends by doing crafts and activities to keep clients from being bored. She takes pictures of the expecting mothers so that they feel beautiful and important. I honestly couldn’t imagine doing my job without her." -- Lisa Burton

- "Holly Lipps has also been employed with VOA Southeastern Kentucky since before the doors open. She has such an awesome attitude and spirit. She is always the one I call to cover extra shifts and she never turns me down. I can depend on her day and night. She works 3rd shift and she never complains about anything. She is also our safety ambassador. I’m so grateful to have Holly on our team." -- Lisa Burton

On any given day you can find Maricia Richardson handing out coffee, making sure the kids at Unity House make there way to the cafeteria for our NTI school, and handing out masks. She goes above and beyond for our families by calming down upset clients, cheering them on in their sobriety journey, singing to crying babies and escorting a wandering child back to mom. I don’t know what we’d do without her. She is a huge asset to VOA and we are lucky to have her.

-- written by Tamara Reif, Associate VP of Housing, HIV Services and HUD Housing

“You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.”-- Sammy Davis Jr.

    I could write an article per day for the next year and still not address the awe and gratitude that I have had for the way in which our Volunteers of America team has responded to this pandemic, and still continues to answer the call. Our dedicated front-line workers continue to offer the same high-quality care to all of the people we serve. Our Committed VOA workers in our downtown office show up every day to make sure that our staff continues to get paid, that all of us are able to receive HR-related support and get access to our IT needs. Those who are working from home spend hours a day on Zoom calls and emails, while still juggling childcare and trying to meet their children’s educational needs. I have seen so much dedication to this work and so much willingness to help each other. When I think of our core values, it is not difficult to see what has been displayed the most-- commitment.

    The team pictured below are some of our clinical, leadership and program staff from our Shelby Men’s Clinical Campus. They recently did a “spirit week” along with some of our other Addiction Recovery Teams. They had 5 days of themes for themselves and the clients to dress up and participate in. They sensed the stress and fear of those living on our campuses, and went above and beyond to bring some fun to work with them, despite the fact that many of them were likely dealing with their own challenges and fears-- that is Commitment.

    Laurie Striegel is a Home Manager serving and working in our Clark and Floyd County Indiana Dept. She takes care of some of our adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because of the very nature of there diagnoses, they are among the most vulnerable people who are “at risk” of contracting and dying from COVID-19. Back in March the leadership team began to develop plans to prepare for any possible positive cases or outbreaks in any of our programs or sites. Laurie had a simple solution for the men she took care of – if there was an exposure at her house, she would simply move in with them to ensure that the virus did not spread. “They are my family” she humbly explained. That my friends is commitment-- in spades.

    The daily commitment and dedication to our mission and to those we serve, is what sets our organization apart from others. And if ever there was a time where it would be reasonable for people to respond to this natural crisis with self-preservation in mind, our VOA team has doubled down on the commitment they have to this mission and to the individuals who are relying on VOA. When other people outside this organization are “letting fear in the driver’s seat” (as us therapists like to say,) our VOA colleagues – all of YOU – have made the daily choice of commitment, and let it guide you through your work. It seems that this connection to something larger than our individual needs – the greater good of our community and addressing the problems that continue to exist– is what is driving our organization through this unprecedented time. It is our value of commitment that will get us through this together and leave us stronger than we've ever been. We got this team VOA-- that is my COMMITMENT to you.

    -- written by Tiffany Cole Hall, Chief Operating Officer VOA Mid-states

    From Left to right: Kim Webster, Lorrie Keith, Missy Phelps, Hayley Hoover, Kelsi Law, Henry Fuqua and Clayton Vertrees

    Northern Kentucky DDS Non-Residential Service Coordinator, Jessica Martinez, used her craft skills to make and donate 130 cotton masks to her colleagues in Middle TN. Thank you Jessica for being a bright spot and helping to keep our VOA family safe.

    Megan Smith, Nikki Anderson and Roger Hughes work at our Spanish Cove Senior Housing apartments and have put together cookie packages for the residents to help keep their spirits up. The message says, "Thank you for your cooperation during this hard time. Our priority is keeping you all safe. Here is a treat to put a smile on your face today. Let us know if you need anything! Love, the staff at Spanish Cove"

    Sherall Curtis works as Quality Assurance Director and Event Management Coordinator at our Middle Tennessee Developmental Disability Services program. Sherall has been busy making face shields. For detailed instructions on how to make your own, click HERE

    Anna Giangrande works as a Program Assistant in our Clark and Floyd County office and has been making homemade hand sanitizer. Here she is making a huge batch of sanitizer and she has generously shared it with Unity House, some of our homes in Clark and Floyd County and the office. Thank you Anna for being a Bright Spot in our life right now! Click HERE for Anna's recipe.