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A LETTER FROM JENNIFER
The past several months have been filled with exciting events and opportunities for Volunteers of America Mid-States. We celebrated ribbon cuttings and anniversaries for our programs, strengthened our relationships with some of our key donors and elected officials, witnessed the passage of legislation benefitting our clients, honored individuals for their service to VOA at our board meeting and national conference, and were blessed by the arrival of more Freedom House babies.
It is hard to believe that the spring months passed us by so quickly. Before we know it, all the children enjoying the freedom of summer will prepare for another school year full of learning and growth. While this seems so normal to many kids, it does not always come easy to those we serve in our programs.
But thankfully, our staff, partners and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that no child misses out on critical educational supplies or supports. Our programs—including Unity House, Freedom House, Determined Health and Restorative Justice—account for the details that are often overlooked when making sure a child has what they need to learn. From backpacks and school supplies, clothing and healthy snacks, or time dedicated to being a study buddy, we all come together to prepare each child so that they start the academic year excited and ready.
it takes each and every one of us to ensure our life-changing services produce the incredible results our programs generate daily. Thank you so much for continuing to support VOA’s mission and enabling us to create positive change in the communities we serve.
Jennifer Hancock, President and CEO
BUILDING A STABLE FUTURE AT VOA'S UNITY HOUSE
For two years, Tabitha Butcher had been struggling to maintain a job and safe housing for her family.
When the COVID pandemic shut down daycares in 2020, Tabitha was forced to make a difficult decision – maintain employment, or leave her job to care for her five young children. For two years, she was doing all she could to support her family. Fortunately, she found Unity House.
“Once I got here, I felt good." Tabitha said. "I felt relieved.”
From childcare to individualized case management, VOA’s Unity House team went to work for Tabitha and her family so they could become self-sufficient and find safe, stable housing.
“Once you’re here, you are connected with so many different resources,” she said. “It’s been wonderful. They have done a lot for me and my kids.”
As the new school year approaches, Unity House families like Tabitha’s need your help. Join our Back to School campaign and donate items like backpacks, school supplies and gift cards so our VOA kids can start and finish school prepared.
“Once you’re here, you are connected with so many different resources,” she said. “It’s been wonderful. They have done a lot for me and my kids.”Tabitha Butcher, Unity House resident
ENJOYING THE NEXT CHAPTER AT SPANISH COVE
“This was a blessing for me. It was like it was just meant for me,” said VOA Spanish Cove resident, Darline Burgess.
Three months ago Darline, a retired Certified Nursing Assistant, moved into Spanish Cove – VOA’s affordable senior living apartments in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I was thinking it was going to be just like every other apartment complex, but when I got here and was able to move in, it was more than I expected,” she said.
As a mother of four children and two grandchildren, Darline was looking for a place to enjoy her retirement and the next stage of her life. Spanish Cove has provided a safe, welcoming environment and a community to be a part of.
“They make you feel comfortable and safe,” Darline said. “The staff is just amazing because I can see they care and that’s really rare.”
From friendly conversations with other residents to bingo nights and other community activities, Darline felt at home as soon as she walked through the doors.
“They do a lot of stuff to keep us busy,” she said. “I really enjoy being here and I’m not going anywhere. This is home.”
“They make you feel comfortable and safe. The staff is just amazing because I can see they care and that’s really rare.”Darline Burgess, resident of Spanish Cove
TENNESSEE WEEKEND OF CHAMPIONS
For 14 years, VOA's team in Tennessee has brought together college football, golfers, music and supporters of our Tennessee programs for the VOA Weekend of Champions. On June 4, we were thrilled to welcome the running back for the Tennessee Titans, Derrick Henry, as our keynote speaker for VOA's Dinner of Champions and American singer-songwriter, Vince Gill, as our musical guest.
This fun, informative and celebratory weekend empowers VOA to continue providing essential support for families who rely on our care and services to veterans, adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and housing for seniors.
This year's event was unique because we had the pleasure of sharing the weekend with VOA's National Conference and welcomed affiliates from across the Nation to our service area of Nashville, Tennessee. During the conference, we had the opportunity to honor one of our invaluable donors, Owner and COO of Caudill Seed Company, Dan Caudill, with the prestigious VOA Booth Award to recognize the years of support he has given to the organization.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE TENNESSEE EVENTS
At 9:30 a.m. Sam starts his weekdays with a strict routine. He wakes up, eats breakfast while watching one of his favorite shows, “Dennis the Menace,” gets ready for the day and at 10:40 a.m., he heads to work.
His consistency is a trait that helps him get started every morning and makes him a great employee at the popular catering and lunch restaurant in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Orange Clover Kitchen and More.
Sam’s mother, Millie, helped him find his job at Orange Clover. Since he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at a young age, Millie and Sam’s family have made it a priority to never let his disability keep him from living a fulfilling life.
In January 2018, Millie found VOA Community – our program working to end isolation for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by helping them build meaningful connections with their community. Our VOA team has worked with Sam and his family to help him get involved with activities and people outside of his home.
From weightlifting at his local YMCA to bowling and mini golf, Sam’s extracurricular activities have helped him form connections with amazing people. But, by far his favorite place to be is with his work family at Orange Clover.
“Sam is really wonderful at keeping a very happy milieu. Which is really nice in a stressful kitchen,” said Rachel Hall Smallwood, owner of Orange Clover. He started at the restaurant two years ago and has become an essential member of their team.
He cleans dishes, rolls silverware and helps serve customers. “Sam is the best employee I have,” she said. “He goes out of his way to make sure everyone on the team is taken care of.”
The connections Sam has cultivated at work and in his community have given him an identity that’s beyond his disability. He has a voice and meaningful relationships that keep him from being isolated.
“He’s giving and he’s good. He makes us all better people,” said Rachel. “I think everybody should have a Sam in their lives.”
He cleans dishes, rolls silverware and helps serve customers. “Sam is the best employee I have,” she said. “He goes out of his way to make sure everyone on the team is taken care of.”Rachel Hall Smallwood, Owner of Orange Clover
KENTUCKY STATE REPRESENTATIVE KIM MOSER
Chair, Kentucky House Committee on Health Services
Kentucky State Representative Kim Moser of Kenton County was elected in 2016 and has worked extensively on addiction policy and criminal justice reform. As chair of the House Health Services Committee, she oversees critical healthcare legislation affecting Kentucky.
In January, Rep. Moser joined VOA in Washington D.C. along with a large group of stakeholders, where they met with members of Kentucky's Federal delegation and White House Drug Czar Dr. Rahul Gupta, providing an update on how VOA is working with state and city leaders to ensure communities across the Commonwealth have systems in place to support individuals overcoming substance use disorder. In the 2023 Legislative Session, Rep. Moser sponsored HB 353, amending statute so that fentanyl testing strips, an important tool in combating the opioid epidemic, would not be considered drug paraphernalia under state law. Additionally, she provided a powerful voice in ensuring several other pieces of legislation that will benefit VOA’s Recovery and Restorative Justice Programs saw final passage.
With a new Freedom House facility coming soon to Northern Kentucky, Rep. Moser’s support and expertise will be more valuable than ever to VOA.
VOA BOARD MEMBER & SENIOR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION BUSINESS PARTNER - GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN AND TECHNOLOGY AT BROWN-FORMAN
VOA Board Member & Senior Diversity and Inclusion Business Partner - Global Supply Chain and Technology at Brown-Forman
In July, Joe Frazier began a new role with Brown-Forman as the Senior Diversity and Inclusion Business Partner of Global Supply Chain and Technology and he is excited about this new opportunity. He previously served as the first Executive Director of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Center for DE&I , which was created in November 2021. VOA’s own DE&I Committee was fortunate enough to participate in the Center’s Pilot Academy, gaining knowledge of how to create a more aware, understanding and inclusive culture in our organization.
“It’s not everyday that you have an opportunity to join an organization that is making true tangible changes in communities nationally. That’s why I’m honored to serve as a board member for Volunteers of America Mid-States. They walk the walk and are an essential cornerstone in transforming our communities for the better.”
Joe recently completed his first year on VOA’s Board of Directors, where he serves on the External Relations Committee.
SERVICE COORDINATOR, CANDLERIDGE PLAZA SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY
Service Coordinator, Candleridge Plaza Senior Living Community
Lisa Neal joined Candleridge in 1997 and became a Service Coordinator in 2002 when VOA Mid-States agreed to administer a grant from HUD for the Service Coordinator Program. While the Service Coordinator profession was new at the time, it has evolved to meet the needs of frail and low-income seniors.
Lisa’s days consist of connecting the approximately 100 residents she oversees to resources such as transportation, how to save on car registration, referrals to Office on Aging programs, arranging classes for computer training, health and wellness activities, educational programs and so much more. She provides assistance with correspondence, benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid, health insurance needs, prescription services and delivery, and SNAP food benefits and energy assistance.
“I am blessed and honored to work for an organization like VOA, whose values encourage individual service and community development. For 26 years, I’ve seen the difference this level of dedication makes to the quality of life for our seniors and their families.”
LOUISVILLE MAYOR'S GIVE A DAY
In honor of Mayor’s Give a Day on April 21, VOA’s compassionate community partners at GE Appliances, Enterprise and Walgreens joined some of our board members to help with maintenance projects at VOA’s recovery programs, Freedom House and Liberty Place on Shelby Street. Heine Brothers Coffee generously donated coffee for the group.
From painting and cleaning up to organizing Liberty Place’s food pantry, the volunteers went above and beyond to support VOA’s mission and uplift the people we serve.
2023 HEALTH AND WELLNESS FAIR IN MANCHESTER
In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, on April 27, VOA joined our partners at Face It Movement, Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, AdventHealth Manchester, Humana, Avēsis, Kentucky Beverage Association and so many more for the second annual Health and Wellness Fair.
VOA, along with more than 50 local organizations and businesses, gathered at EKU Manchester’s campus to provide health resources to southeast Kentucky residents along with information about our oral health campaign, Healthy Mouth, Healthy You, child abuse prevention tips, free dental screenings and great prizes like new car seats.
VOA AWARDED $1,000,000 TO COMBAT THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
After the passage of HB 427, Attorney General Daniel Cameron established the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission by appointing W. Bryan Hubbard to oversee the nearly $900 million historic settlement Kentucky received from the opioid companies that perpetuated the epidemic to the detriment of all of us. Just recently, General Cameron and the Commission distributed more than $8 million to organizations throughout the Commonwealth. VOA is a proud recipient of a $1 million grant from these funds.
VOA has been a leader in combating substance use disorder with evidence-based recovery solutions that get results. These opioid abatement dollars will enable VOA to replicate our successful rural Recovery Community Center in Lincoln and Pulaski Counties.