Make Maud Proud
We are excited to share that this month marks 125 years since Volunteers of America was founded! We are proud that VOA stands apart as an organization that was co-founded by a woman and continues to be an equitable workplace for all people. Maud Booth fought for equal rights, and we continue her mission by serving women, families, and all of those struggling with homelessness and addiction with love and dignity.
All month long, we will be celebrating our founding with Maud, our co-founder and “Little Mother.” We will be showing all the ways that our employees, clients, donors, and funders carry on with the mission of the original “Volunteers.”
Use this form to nominate someone you know who would #MakeMaudProud by doing good in the community.
April 21, 2021
Kayleigh Swetland, Program Manager, Veteran Services, VOA-NCNN
Kayleigh Swetland is the program manager for our Veteran Services program. She exemplifies the VOA spirit in all she does!
Her colleagues said, "Kayleigh started an internal program for her team members to recognize the positive actions of every other team member. She starts every weekly meeting with a request for that information and that posts those recognitions on our bulletin board."
Her positive spirit and focus on the good inspire us to be better. Kayleigh, you #MakeMaudProud! Thank you for all you do!
April 19, 2021
Scott Wong, Board Member, VOA-NCNN
This week is #NationalVolunteerWeek, and we are thankful to have some of the best volunteers out there!
Scott Wong is a member of the VOA Board of Directors and is a faithful volunteer at the VOA Resource Center. His service there ensures that individuals who have no permanent mailing address are able to receive their mail through this center. His unwavering dedication over the past year, through COVID-19, allowed hundreds of people to stay connected and receive this vital service.
Last week, Scott was surprised with a certificate of outstanding service and a letter from Governor Sisolak as part of the Point of Light awards by a representative from Nevada Volunteers. There is no one more deserving of this award. Thank you, Scott, for all you do for your neighbors! You definitely #MakeMaudProud.
April 16, 2021
Aquasia Elijah, Veteran Services, VOA-NCNN
Aquasia Elijah works at one of our Veteran programs and provides excellent service to those in need.
Her colleagues wrote, "Aquasia goes well above and beyond to make sure our elderly veterans are taken care of by calling them to remind them of their appointments. Before this became her job, she connected her veterans with appointments that they waited years to get!"
We are proud of the impact Aquasia is making each day! Thank you for the many ways you #MakeMaudProud!
April 13, 2021
Stanley Brown, VOA-NCNN
Today we celebrate Mr. Stanley Brown!
This photo is from Stanley's first day wearing his VOA shirt in 2017. His colleagues said, "He ALWAYS goes above and beyond to help anyone in any way. He is hard working and really devoted to the reason Volunteers of America does what it does--to share love and help."
Stanley, you #MakeMaudProud, and we are thankful to have you on the team!
April 9, 2021
Elizabeth Garcia, Veteran Services, VOA-NCNN
Elizabeth Garcia works with our Veteran population and other service providers to get people housed. Her colleagues said this about her:
"Liz is the external representative for our Veteran program and is the face of the program to the homeless veterans in the community as well as other service providers. She has mastered creating a welcoming and encouraging environment for all who interact with our team."
We are thankful for her caring heart and know that she would #MakeMaudProud!
April 7, 2021
Tonya Jean McGee, ReStart, VOA-NCNN
Tonya Jean McGee is a passionate member of the VOA family. As someone who has struggled with homelessness, she knows what our clients are experiencing.
She says, "I remember how people treated me from a place of judgment and it was painful. I climbed out of it and always treat others with respect and love and as human beings who need hope."
Her colleagues agree that she shares hope, joy, and love with every client in our ReStart program. Tonya, you #MakeMaudProud, and we are so happy to have you on our team!
April 6, 2021
Dave Cantu, Residential Family Shelter, VOA-NCNN
We are continuing in our #MakeMaudProud campaign with Mr. Dave Cantu!
Dave works at our Residential Family Shelter and is a true servant leader. His official title is the maintenance man, but he is always willing to flip the laundry, answer the phone, or serve meals to our residents.
He epitomizes Maud's motto to go wherever is needed and do what comes to hand. We are thankful for his giving heart, and know that he would #MakeMaudProud!
March 31, 2021
Melissa Blair Aliotti, Board Member, VOA-NCNN
"I want to reassure those [women] in particular that you really just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue in the direction of that goal. And it can be done."
We are closing out this #WomensHistoryMonth with our current board chair, Melissa Blair Aliotti. Melissa is an attorney by profession and owns her own practice focusing on mediation and conflict resolution.
She says her time as the Board Chair has been rewarding and humbling. "The people who are on the line with VOA are absolute miracle workers every day. That keeps me committed and motivated to do the best job I can do in continuing to lead with ideas and inspiration and reaching forward for better programs and services."
When asked about what Women's History Month means to her, Melissa talked about her grandmother, Ruby Perry, who was a very young suffragette, a college grad, and a working mother during the Great Depression. It was women like Ruby, Melissa says, "who paved the way for all of us to be able to do what we want to do without restriction."
We are proud to have an amazing woman like Melissa as our board leader. She would definitely #MakeMaudProud!
March 30, 2021
Mike Wood Team
Last week, Hannah and Savannah from the Mike Wood Team delivered new sheet sets, blankets, assembled hygiene kits, towel sets, socks, underwear, and more to our new Bridge Housing Program for men in Reno! These items will welcome new clients in and go with them as they re-establish themselves in more permanent housing.
To the whole Mike Wood team, you are changing the lives of your neighbors! Thank you for the work you do every day to make the world a little brighter. #MakeMaudProud #VOAProud
March 29, 2021
Debra Morrow, Board Member, VOA-NCNN
“It’s the small steps you take to challenge the status quo about what women are and aren’t supposed to do.”
Debra Morrow knows a lot about challenging the status quo. She grew up in an era where women were not necessarily thought of as leaders unless it was leaders over the home. She started her career at 21 as a police officer and was the first female on that force. She continued her career, pursued a degree in social work, and worked for the county assisting women who had been victims of domestic violence and those experiencing homelessness.
Debra worked closely with several of the VOA programs through her work with the county, and finally joined the board 2 and a half years ago.
She says that #WomensHistoryMonth is a recognition of how far we’ve come and that women are multidimensional and have a lot to offer. She feels really good that she may have been an encouragement for other women to look at themselves as leaders.
We are proud to have such a pioneer on our board, and know that Debra would #MakeMaudProud!
March 27, 2021
Beth Mullen, Board Member, VOA-NCNN
"It is critically important to have women in leadership because of the diversity they bring to the ways they look at things."
Beth Mullen has been on the Board of Directors at VOA for about 2 years, and has provided an essential perspective to our leadership team! As a CPA and leader in the Affordable Housing industry throughout the country, Beth brings a depth of knowledge to the table. She says the need for the services that VOA provides has been even more critical in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beth has loved hearing the stories of her colleagues and friends throughout #WomensHistoryMonth. She says, "why limit women's history to a month?" We agree, Beth, and are thrilled to share your story today!
Thank you for being such an important part of what we do. You #MakeMaudProud!
March 26, 2021
Amanda Bayard, Program Coordinator, VOA-NCNN
"Amanda has the biggest heart. She goes over and beyond for her teammates and clients. She definitely Makes Maud proud!"
Amanda Bayard received lots of accolades from her colleagues in our #MakeMaudProud campaign, and we are proud to highlight her today! Here is what they had to say:
"Amanda has drive, perseverance, and determination that is unequaled."
"Amanda has built the Restart program from its infancy to what it is today. She is an amazing worker and her dedication to this program enables encouragement and positive influence among the staff and the clients. I am grateful to work under her and learn from an amazing individual, she makes EVERYONE proud to be here."
"She has built rapport with each client and can read any problem in their eyes. She is quick to validate a client's feelings of anger or frustration and offer her help to make it better. She shows them compassion, integrity, and honesty."
"No task is too daunting and no one is left to do it alone. She demonstrates community to the clients, with confidence. She is a teacher, counselor, and soldier. If anyone could, Amanda Bayard would #MakeMaudProud."
"Amanda is kind and caring and truly makes her community a better place...[she] is someone that you can always count on to be there and help out."Thank you for all you do, Amanda!
March 25, 2021
Thank you to the wonderful people at Lexie's Gift! They recently donated 30 pairs of Puma tennis shoes to our Reno Men's Shelter!
So many of our clients walk around in shoes that either don't fit or are completely worn out. Having quality, well-fitting shoes is a luxury that those we serve cannot always support. We are thankful for an amazing community that helps to fill those gaps! #MakeMaudProud
March 24, 2021
Judy McGarry, Board Member, VOA-NCNN
Judy McGarry has been a member of VOA's Board of Directors for about 15 years. She spent most of her career in law enforcement--a devotion she shares with our co-founder, Maud!
Being a woman in a male-dominated field was never an issue for Judy, and if you've met her, you may understand why. Her passionate, fiery spirit has allowed her to lead and pave the way for many women to follow.
She says, "Women are making serious strides in a lot of areas and if people haven’t noticed them before because they were females, then shame on them, and I’m glad it’s happening. They’ve always been capable and they may not have been given the opportunity."
This #WomensHistoryMonth, we are thankful for Judy and her hands-on attitude that has led our organization so faithfully!
Judy, you definitely would #MakeMaudProud!
March 23, 2021
Today we are thankful for our friends at SMUD for their partnership! Here is what our Director of Development had to say: "Our dear friends at SMUD would definitely make Maud proud. Their passion for our community is remarkable and every year they find innovative ways to help non-profits like ours. We are so grateful for their compassion, their reliability, and commitment to men, women, and children in the Sacramento community. Thank you for gifting us this beautiful Bonsai tree and we look forward to another year as your Sustainable Communities Partner!"Thank you, SMUD, for the ways you #MakeMaudProud!
March 21, 2021
Rachel Reader, Board Member, VOA-NCNN
"One of the things I get really excited about with Women’s History Month is that it feels as though we’re looking to the present, to those who are making history right now. That’s such an exciting and unique space to live in. A lot of the barriers and glass ceilings that have been set up in the last decades are being broken down."
This #WomensHistoryMonth, we are excited to celebrate 5 incredible women who lead VOA as part of the Board of Directors.
Rachel Reader is the Area Portfolio Leader for Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento. She was introduced to VOA through her work there and joined the board last year.
Rachel is especially excited about the programs at VOA that empower women to lead and to reach their potential, like the Options for Recovery program for pregnant and parenting women.
We are thankful to have Rachel as part of our leadership team, and know that she would #MakeMaudProud!
Learn more about our programs for parenting women: https://www.voa-ncnn.org/recovery-for-parenting-women
March 20, 2021
Shelli Clark, Program Manager, Residential Family Shelter, VOA-NCNN
This incredible woman received 7 nominations for our #MakeMaudProud campaign, which speaks to the amazing example she is to everyone around her! Here is what her colleagues had to say:
"Shelli Clark never judges. She finds the good in every situation and shares it."
"She is the glue that holds us together. Our team leader, always available to listen to clients and staff in a non-judgmental way. She is gracious and has a caring spirit."
"I am very blessed to have a boss like Shelli! She always makes sure that I feel appreciated in whatever I do and makes sure my needs are taken care of."
"She always listens and helps us solve our own personal problems."Shelli, you #MakeMaudProud, and we are so thankful to have you as a part of the VOA family!
March 16, 2021
Julianna Glock, Director of Operations and Compliance, VOA-NCNN
"For nearly 15 years Julianna has led with empathy and served with compassion. Julianna always puts the needs of those she serves first. Her dedication to the mission is evident every day. Hers is not an 8-5 job. As the Director of Operations and Compliance, she has a lot on her plate, yet she always has time to stop and listen to the needs of her team. Rather than ignoring the emotions of, not only her team, but VOA guests, she listens with kindness, allows them to open up and describe what is happening with them, and how to work through a situation. She knows how to get out of her own shoes and put on someone else's. There is so much to say about her - a wonderful, kindhearted human being who stands up every day for people who have hit a low point in their life. She sets the example for all to follow; lovingly serving every day."
Thank you for all you do, Julianna Glock! You #MakeMaudProud!
March 14, 2021
Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation
Today we want to highlight the incredible Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation for the work they do to help those in need learn, grow, and fulfill their dreams and aspirations. They are doing amazing things within the community!
The Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation have been longtime friends of VOA, and recently gave us a grant of $20k for the Nevada shelter programs. We are so thankful for their partnership in bringing people out of homelessness and know that they would #MakeMaudProud!
March 13, 2021
Anna Darzins, Program Manager, Rapid Re-Housing
Maud and Ballington founded Volunteers of America with the mission: "To go wherever is needed and do what comes to hand." This next nomination exemplifies that mission!
Anna Darzins is a long-time employee of VOA, has worked in various programs, and is a bright light in the community. Her nominator wrote, "Anna always does whatever is necessary to care for others (clients, friends, family or strangers), often at her own expense. She epitomizes Maud’s 'go wherever, do whatever' spirit every day of her life!
Anna, thank you for the work you do every day! You #MakeMaudProud!
March 11, 2021
Riverside Seventh Day Adventist Church
Riverside Seventh Day Adventist Church collected and donated hygiene items and the youth group delivered them to the Men's Shelter in Reno. The hygiene items are used by our outreach managers to help gain trust and build relationships with those living along the streets and river. Once relationships are built, these managers work to bring people in to start receiving services and, ultimately, to get housed.
We are thankful for their kindness and generosity toward their community! You #MakeMaudProud!
March 10, 2021
Anna Cornelius, Residential Family Shelter, VOA-NCNN
When we announced our #MakeMaudProud campaign, our inbox was immediately flooded with nominations for Anna Cornelius. Her colleagues had so many good things to say about her, we couldn't fit them all in! Here are some of their comments:
"Her heart of compassion really motivated me to do whatever it takes to make things happen."
"Anna always goes above and beyond and she does everything out of the kindness of her heart."
"Anna Cornelius is a very kind-hearted and sweet person she always goes above and beyond for her team and our clients...She is a team leader and she is always willing to help no matter what."
"Anna always has a smile and a bright attitude about her. She is the one you want to see first thing in the morning!"
"Anna Cornelius is a very generous and caring person. She is always going out her way for everyone! She is very creative. Everything Anna puts together she always does it with love."
"She's a consistent team player, always top-notch attitude, always with to help clients and staff."
As you can see, no one could stop gushing about Anna! We are so thankful that she is on our team and know without a doubt that she would #MakeMaudProud
March 7, 2021
Akanese Luluga, Support Staff, Family Shelter, VOA-NCNN
This next employee got a few different nominations, and her colleagues' words speak for themselves! Akenese, you #MakeMaudProud!
"Akenese's passion for her work and those she serves inspires me. She doesn't only talk the talk she walks the walk. Although her life journey hasn't always been easy she is a fighter, a wonderful mother, and a reliable friend and advocate to those who are facing difficult life circumstances. I feel blessed to know her!"
"Well, how do I begin? Akenese Lulugga went from homelessness to a client here at VOA to getting her green card, social security number, to getting housed, to returning to VOA as a volunteer, and NOW to an Employee for VOA. She goes above and beyond. She works any hour that's needed with no questions, she learns fast and is very kind, considerate, and understanding. When it comes to the clients, she relates to them very well because she has literately been there and they relate to her very very well."Thank you for all you do, Akenese!!
March 6, 2021
Katie Grace Foundation
Our community partners like the Katie Grace Foundation certainly #MakeMaudProud all the time! We are thankful for the Katie Grace Foundation and their donation of 1,000 NEW men's zip-up sweatshirts for our shelter guests. Your generosity warms our hearts, and it will continue to warm our clients for years to come!
March 5, 2021
Gary Walters, Shift Lead, Men's Shelter, VOA-NCNN
"We don’t know if we saved someone’s life or not, but we may have. We’ve made a positive impact every day that we go to work."
Gary has been an employee of VOA in Reno for almost 10 years. After spending time in prison and struggling with drug addiction, Gary was able to turn his life around. He says that his experience allows him to better understand and empathize with the men at the Men's Shelter. He knows what they are going through, and lives as an example that change is possible.
One of his fellow employees said, "Gary has been a dedicated and compassionate employee for many years. He treats our clients with as much dignity as respect as possible."
Gary is an inspiration to us and those we serve every day! Thank you for the many ways you #MakeMaudProud!
March 4, 2021
Sacramento Elks Lodge #6
Over the holidays, Elks Lodge gave generously to our veteran programs.
In addition to a grant, they provided snacks, calendars, and welcome baskets to our clients. These veterans felt the love, and we can't thank them enough for their partnership!
To all the members at the Sacramento Elks Lodge, you #MakeMaudProud!
March 3, 2021
CHRISTIE HOLDEREGGER, CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, AND COMMISSIONED MINISTER, VOA-NCNN
This is Christie Holderegger. Many of you may recognize her from posts on here or interacting around town. Christie recently celebrated 29 years of working with Volunteers of America, and she has changed countless lives during that time!
As the VP for Development and Marketing, Christie goes above and beyond, managing her teams with grace while giving everyone the freedom to use their gifts. She fosters relationships with clients, donors, and staff wherever she goes. She embodies Maud's mantra of going wherever is needed and is never afraid to lend a hand to any program she can. Christie also serves as a commissioned minister within Volunteers of America and leads teams on a national level.
We are thankful to work under Christie's leadership, and can't think of anyone better to kick off this month of celebration.
Christie, thank you for the many ways you #MakeMaudProud!