Nearly 500 Children are Counting on Us
Ronald and Sy’onna are looking forward to the holidays. Last year, VOA gave the gift of hope to over 500 children being served in our programs.
What helps our families the most?
- Gift Cards
- New Winter Coats
- Hygiene Items
- Donate to a location near you
A Letter from Jennifer
As 2023 comes to an end, I look back on the past year and the incredible feats we’ve accomplished together at Volunteers of America.
The 30th anniversary of Freedom House was certainly a highlight and focal point this year. From the program being recognized by the Kentucky General Assembly, to the kick-off of our expansion capital campaign, and capped off by Freedom House graduate Emilee Ward’s inspiring speech at the 15th annual Power of 1 Breakfast—the impact and importance of our program for pregnant and parenting women overcoming substance use disorder was celebrated in a big way.
Additionally, many of our other programs including Family Recovery Court, Recovery Reintegration, Recovery Community Centers and Restorative Justice – are expanding into new regions across Kentucky, providing communities with much-needed support services.
In this edition of Inspire, you’ll read about the amazing things we’ve accomplished together throughout the year, inspiring stories from the people we serve and how you can uplift our VOA families this holiday season.
Our Hope for the Holidays campaign ensures the families we serve across Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Clark and Floyd Counties in Indiana have the essentials they need to enjoy this festive and joyous time of year. With your help, we can make this holiday season special for the children and families in our programs.
Thank you for your continued support of VOA and our mission of bringing about positive change in the communities we serve.
Jennifer Hancock, President and CEO
VOA Health’s Computer Lab Offers Life-Changing Resources
“This lab is definitely a benefit to the West End,” said Marshall Hanna, a resident of West Louisville and VOA Health computer lab user.
In August of 2022, VOA opened a computer lab at the VOA Health location at 4303 West Broadway in Louisville with the goal of addressing the digital divide in West Louisville neighborhoods. Marshall found the lab while he was heading to the local library.
“I had been walking to the library not knowing that the VOA had a computer lab that was a lot closer and a lot quieter,” Marshall said.
Since the COVID pandemic, Marshall experienced some financial issues that left him behind on his bills and his electricity was turned off. The computer lab not only gave him access to the internet, but it also connected him with Yunikka Reese, a VOA Health Community Health Worker.
Yunikka went to work for Marshall to help him catch up on his bills and get his electricity back on.
“I came over here and Yunikka worked her magic and now my lights are on.” Marshall said.
Marshall continues to visit the computer lab to check his emails, apply for jobs and see the VOA Health team.
“I’m going to continue to come. I tell friends and strangers about it who I know go to the library,” he said.
VOA Health’s computer lab is free and open to the public on Monday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Whether you’re searching for a job, in need of health resources or completing schoolwork, a VOA team member is on-site and ready to assist.
“I love the staff here. They’re doing things that need to be done in this community,” Marshall said. “It’s a hidden diamond in a coal mine.”
“I had been walking to the library not knowing that the VOA had a computer lab that was a lot closer and a lot quieter.”
Marshall Hannah, VOA Health’s Computer Lab participant
Power of 1
“When we see the headlines of the devastation that addiction creates, I offer you a brighter and more hopeful headline and it is this: Look at me. Recovery is possible.”
Program graduate Emilee Ward helped VOA celebrate our 15th annual Power of 1 Breakfast this year, sharing her story of how her life was changed when she found VOA.
Emilee shared her powerful journey of overcoming substance use disorder and homelessness. Today, she is a healthy, sober mom, living in stable housing and a supervisor at VOA’s Freedom House.
We can’t serve mothers like Emilee without you. We send our most sincere thanks to everyone who attended and supported us at this year’s Power of 1 Breakfast.
Our Capital Campaign has Kicked-Off – $25 Million Goal
WE ARE EXPANDING TO HELP MORE FAMILIES.
WITH YOUR HELP, MORE MOMS CAN BEAT SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER.
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.
Families struggling with substance use disorder need VOA’s recovery programs now more than ever. Our Freedom House program is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and because of this evidence based program, 319 babies have been born healthy and drug-free. But we have a waiting list of moms who need our help.
In response to the growing demand for our services, we have kicked off a capital campaign themed “30 Years and Counting.” Planning is ongoing to open 3 new Freedom House facilities in Owensboro, Stanford and Northern Kentucky and double our current Manchester location.
Please join VOA in ending the cycle of substance use disorder in the lives of mothers and their newborns. To find out more, reach out to Dave Bell at DaveB@voamid.org or call (502) 636-4633.
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.
Clay County Fiscal Court
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Mr. Kenneth L. Crandall
Mr. Brian Franz
Mr. Stephen C. Gault
The Hager Education Foundation
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc. / Kentucky Sports Radio
Ms. Judie Parks
St. Elizabeth Healthcare
WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
$12 million raised
$13 million remaining
After escaping an abusive relationship, Ron Valentine’s number one concern was finding a safe place for him and his five daughters, 15-year-old Patra, 13-year-old Daria, 12-year-old Diamond, five-year-old Sy’onna and two-year-old Kylie.
“We needed to start fresh, start new,” Ron said.
Ron is an Army veteran and went to the Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs for support. Their team referred him to an emergency shelter that provides individualized case management and safe housing for the whole family – VOA’s Unity House.
On July 23, Ron and his daughters moved into Unity House and were met by a welcoming staff ready to help him create a hopeful, stable life for his family.
“Unity House has helped us with everything from financial and emotional support to just having somewhere to sleep,” Ron said.
VOA’s Unity House team has helped Ron develop short and long-term goals to find stable, affordable housing and return to a self-sufficient life.
This holiday season he’s looking forward to taking some time to celebrate the progress they have made.
“We take it a day at a time and we’re just thankful for the small things,” Ron said.
When you support VOA’s Hope for the Holidays campaign, you are helping us uplift families like Ron’s this holiday season. Whether it’s personal hygiene products, winter clothes or toys for the children we support, every gift we receive gives hope to the families we serve.
“Unity House has helped us with everything from financial and emotional support to just having somewhere to sleep.”
Ronald Valentine, Father of five at Unity House
MCCONNELL, GUPTA AND OTHER LEADERS JOIN ROUNDTABLE AT MANCHESTER RECOVERY COMMUNITY CENTER
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.
On August 17, VOA welcomed U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Dr. Rahul Gupta, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus to our Recovery Community Center in Manchester, KY for a panel discussion on Kentucky’s response to the opioid epidemic.
With support from federal, state and local leaders VOA has been able to create a recovery ecosystem in Southeast Kentucky that is being replicated across the Commonwealth, bringing real results to communities affected by opioids.
During the discussion, VOA President and CEO Jennifer Hancock updated community partners and state leaders on the progress of VOA’s Freedom House expansion in the region. The organization’s recovery services in Clay County continue to grow, supporting more families overcoming substance use disorder.
Senator McConnell praised the work of VOA in the region saying, “Mid-States has done tremendous work guiding people who struggle with substance abuse onto a path to recovery. It was a pleasure to welcome Dr. Gupta back to Kentucky and to celebrate the great work being done at Eastern Kentucky’s VOA facility, with Jennifer Hancock at the helm. The expansion of this facility will bring long-term recovery care to even more Kentuckians in need and begin healing communities in this region that have been especially hard-hit.”
ELIZABETHTOWN VETERAN STAND DOWN EVENT
On October 4, VOA Honor hosted a Stand Down event at the Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The free event gave homeless and at-risk veterans the ability to receive referrals for health care, housing solutions, employment, substance use treatment, mental health counseling and other essential resources.
Army veteran, Thomas Brummett, is unhoused and visits the community center daily to take showers. During his last visit, he saw a flyer for the event and decided to go. Our VOA Home team is now working with Thomas to help him find stable, safe housing.
“This is a good event! I wish it was more known so more veterans can be helped, especially those who are disabled and homeless,” said Thomas.
Join our Hope for the Holidays Campaign
Last year, VOA gave the gift of hope to over 500 children being served in our programs.