Volunteers of America – Faith-based Group

In a society characterized by a widening ridge between the rich and the poor, the Christian thing to do is put the needs of the vulnerable and the poor first. The needs of the less fortunate should always take priority over the desires of the rich. The Bible instructs that the more fortunate should make it a habit of renouncing a portion of their riches to place them generously at the service of the needy. The extent of poverty prevalence in society shows how far it is from becoming a true community of humans. This can only be remedied by greater solidarity with the poor through acts of compassion. Many faith-based groups such as the Volunteers of America have heeded to the call of the less fortunate, subsequently dedicating themselves to uplifting the poor and the vulnerable.

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History of Volunteers of America

Social reformers Maud Ballington Booth and Ballington Booth founded Volunteers of America in 1896 in New York. The two envisioned an organization dedicated to reaching and uplifting the less fortunate in American society. In its early days, the organization provided food, medicine, and comfort to people not helped by other charities. In the 1960s, the organization diversified to real estate by taking part in numerous federal government housing programs. In the 1970s, Volunteers of America further diversified to professional long-term nursing care (“Volunteers of America’s History | Volunteers of America”, n.d.). Today, the organization is one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of human services, uplifting more than a million people each year across the US (“Our History – Volunteers of America-Greater New York | Volunteers of America”, n.d.).

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Volunteers of America’s Purpose, Philosophy, and Techniques of Operation

            VOA’s purpose is to help the impoverished, vulnerable, and underserved members of society live healthy, safe, and productive lives. The objective is underpinned by the philosophy that humans have a mission to reach and uplift all people, bonded by a commitment to faith, social justice, and human dignity. When the organization was founded, it relied on volunteers. Today it delivers its services through partnering with professionals as well as volunteers and other community supporters. VOA provides affordable housing and other human services primarily to low-income households throughout the US. People can contribute to the organization’s cause through donations and volunteering (“Donate to Volunteers of America | Volunteers of America”, n.d.).

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Biblical Foundation for Volunteers of America’s Purpose and Activities

            VOA envisions a world where everyone lives in safety, with physical, emotional, and social well-being, as well as a spiritual affiliation. The organization believes in commitment to faith, social justice, and human dignity (“Our Mission | Volunteers of America”, n.d.). In the Bible, God commands humans to give generously to the less fortunate and speak on their behalf. The Bible emphasizes that God rewards generosity. For this reason, VOA is dedicated to providing essential services to heal both the body and the soul. The organization’s religious beliefs can be traced to the Methodist reforms and revivalism of the 18th century. The organization’s Biblical foundation offers people a unique path on their spiritual journey by putting their faith into action, consequently rendering the world a more compassionate place to live (“Our Ministry | Volunteers of America”, n.d.).

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Activities at the National, State, and Local Level

            VOA provides services designed to address specific community needs locally. The organization’s focus areas include promoting self-sufficiency for the impoverished and those overcoming personal crises, caring for the disabled and the elderly, and supporting positive development for the vulnerable. Notably, VOA addresses both urgent and ongoing needs with the objective of helping individuals become as self-reliant as possible “Services We Provide | Volunteers of America.’ n.d.). The organization provides these services at the local, state, and national levels.

Volunteers of America’s Current Legislative Agenda

            VOA’s current policy priorities for Congress focus on helping all Americans achieve their optimal potential. The policy agenda priorities include affordable housing, Medicare and Medicaid, veteran services and moral injury, and senior services. Collaboration with local, state, and federal governments allows the organization to successfully advocate on behalf of the impoverished, vulnerable, and under-served Americans “Our Advocacy | Volunteers of America.” n.d.).

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Volunteers of America’s Effectiveness

            Today, Volunteers of America touches the lives of approximately 1.5 million Americans each year in hundreds of communities across the US. The organization also owns and operates more than 500 affordable housing properties, providing more than 20,000 affordable units to 25,000 people annually. Additionally, it is one of the largest non-profit providers in the US of skilled nursing care and assisted living for seniors. Moreover, its veteran program serves more than 27,000 veterans and their family members each year (“Our Advocacy | Volunteers of America.’ n.d.). The organization has, therefore, been commendably effective in uplifting the vulnerable, impoverished, and under-served persons across the US.

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Recommendations           

Volunteers of America has been doing a commendable job for the past twelve decades. However, the organization has been focusing its efforts on the US. This paper recommends that VOA consider expanding to provide its service globally. The organization has the means and capability to expand its reach. Indeed, this would allow it to touch and uplift more people.

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