Spotlight on Volunteers Of America

By Stephanie Russell

VOAlogoCO_side_B+R_U

Volunteers of America is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping people in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. They provide over 30 distinct human service programs throughout the State of Colorado including housing and health care. Veterans of America help more than 200,000 Coloradans each year and support and empower some of the most vulnerable populations, including veterans.

Volunteers of America, along with several other veteran-serving community organizations, will be working to maximize the collective impact and to better serve service men and women. Volunteers of America was awarded the Denver Shared Spaces Technical Assistance grant on March 12, 2014 in order to support their transition from independent and separate organizations into a multi-tenant Veterans One Stop center. Volunteers of America is in the process of selecting partners for this shared space, and they hope to move into their new building at 1247 Santa Fe later this year.  Volunteers of America and their community partners will provide a spectrum of services to allow veterans to survive (basic needs), thrive (education and vocational) and engage (quality of life programs like volunteering and arts).  We are so excited to be able to support this innovative and essential approach to service delivery and community engagement!

The Veteran’s One Stop mission is to provide expedited and coordinated services to veterans from all walks of life in one, easily-accessible location. Volunteers of America and the rest of the organizations within the Veterans One Stop will serve veterans from all generations and from all backgrounds that desire to access services, or engage in opportunities to serve others. The Veterans One Stop aims to develop genuine community and provide superior customer service while cutting down on the extremely long lag times between service appointments. Cutting down on wait times in the continuum of care is essential for providing good customer service as well as keeping clients engaged and continuing to make progress towards their goals. For the past year and a half, the Volunteers of America have engaged in extensive collaboration with community partners around the State of Colorado to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery to our nation’s Veterans.  The Veteran’s One-Stop Center is a tangible manifestation of this effort.

Brenton Hutson, the Associate Division Director of Veteran Services for Volunteers of America, met with this writer and described the potential impact of DSS Technical Assistance: “It is our hope that the Technical Assistance Program will bring an objective perspective to the project in helping to ensure accountability and drive innovation.” “DSS will help us to break out of our shell and engage our community partners in a way that is meaningful, effective, and sustainable.” Mr. Hutson further explained that, “organizations tend to become insular over time as they grow and become rooted in tradition.  DSS will help us to break out of our shell and engage our community partners in a way that is meaningful, effective, and sustainable.”

Stay tuned to www.denversharedspaces.org for cohort updates throughout the year!