Offer Hope Restore Dignity Transform Lives

Est. 1896

A legacy of service

Our Mission

Volunteers of America is a movement organized to reach and uplift all people and bring them to the knowledge and active service of God. We illustrate the presence of God through all that we do, serve people and communities in need and create opportunities for people to experience the joy of serving others. Together we bring about positive change in the lives of individuals and communities.

Impact Statement

Volunteers of America helps the most vulnerable and under-served people achieve their full potential.

We provide services that are designed locally to address specific community needs. Our common areas of focus include: promoting self-sufficiency for the homeless and for others overcoming personal crises, and supporting positive development for children. We look at the whole person and address both urgent and on-going needs, with the goal of helping people become as self-reliant as possible.

Maud and Ballington Booth, Founders of Volunteers of America

History

Ballington and Maud Booth envisioned a movement dedicated to "reaching and uplifting" the American people. Founding Volunteers of America in 1896, the social reformers pledged to "go wherever we are needed, and do whatever comes to hand." That declaration has guided Volunteers of America’s outreach efforts ever since.

In Ohio, just three months after our founding, three Volunteers of America posts were established in Cleveland. By the late 1920s, posts were established throughout all of Ohio’s major cities including Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Mansfield, Sandusky, Toledo and Youngstown.

The early 1900s

In turn-of-the-century America, there was no shortage of work for the newly established Volunteers of America. The Volunteers moved into tenement districts to care for people in poverty. They organized day nurseries and summer camps, provided housing for single men and women, and established the nation's first system of halfway houses for released prisoners.

The Depression

The Great Depression of the 1930s stretched the nation's private social welfare system almost to the breaking point. Volunteers of America mobilized to assist the millions of people who were unemployed, hungry and homeless. Relief efforts included employment bureaus, wood yards, soup kitchens, and "Penny Pantries" where every food item cost one cent.

Wartime

Volunteers of America served proudly on the home front during both world wars. The group operated canteens, overnight lodging and Sunday breakfasts for soldiers and sailors on leave. Affordable housing and child care were provided for defense industry workers. Further, Volunteers of America spearheaded community salvage drives during World War II, collecting millions of pounds of scrap metal, rubber and fiber for the war effort.

The 1960s

Our special mission in affordable housing dates to our organization's founding. Volunteers of America helped accelerate real estate development during the 1960s by taking part in numerous federal housing programs. Since 1968, Volunteers of America has developed over 300 affordable housing complexes in more than 31 states.

The 1970s

In the 1970s, the organization emerged as a major provider of professional long-term nursing care. Today, Volunteers of America not only offers home health care and related services, but owns and operates several nursing facilities, and assisted and independent living residences.

Today

Now in our second century of service, we are one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive human services organizations, touching the lives of more than 2 million people each year in communities across the United States. Planning for the next 100 years, we will continue to prove that “there are no limits to caring.”



Why We Do What We Do

We are Volunteers of America.
And we are the first to step forward,
Taking on the most crushing problems.
The dire.
The hopeless.
The untouchable.
And we make a difference.
Because we not only perceive the burdens of others,
We know firsthand what it means to make them lighter.
This is why we do what we do.

Our story is long and rich.
And widely unknown.
But we're not chasing fame.
Or glory.
Our lives are meant for service.
For lifting up the broken-hearted.
For finding the lost.
For reaching out with mercy and compassion
To those who thought they were beyond reach.
For uplifting all our lives.
This is why we do what we do.

Every day, we see our brothers and sisters
lying beaten and bruised on their own roads to Jericho.
We act because we're trained.
We're impassioned.
We're honored.
This is why we do what we do.

Like our Great Exemplar,
We go among the unclean,
the broken,
the forgotten,
and the outcast.
And we use our lives
to make theirs better.
This is why we do what we do.

We are Volunteers of America.