Stories

Cooking Up A Plan For The Future

When Mr. Ernest James, a resident at VOADV’s Hope Hall, arrived for his interview to be a line cook at a local Burger King, he had something that immediately put him a step above other applicants – a certificate from Cathedral Kitchen’s Culinary and Baking Arts Employment Training Course. Knowing the reputation of the program and the well-prepared graduates it produces, the restaurant immediately offered Mr. James a manager position. Mr. James, and other recent Cathedral Kitchen graduates Mr. Clary and Mr. Smith, are all residents of VOADV’s Hope Hall, one of two Residential Community Release Programs (RCRPs) for men….

Day In The Life: Kaitlyn Friess, Regional Director of Safe Return/Navigator

Meet Kaitlyn Friess, the Regional Director of Safe Return/Navigator for the Tri-County region, which encompasses Gloucester, Cumberland, and Salem Counties. From a young age, Kaitlyn always knew she wanted to help people and started her career as a juvenile probation officer in Philadelphia. After 10 years acting as a “big sister, friend, whatever they needed”, Kaitlyn knew she was ready to try something different and help others in a new way. That was where her journey with VOADV began. When she heard about the Safe Return and Navigator programs and the services they provide – case management, housing assistance, substance…

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Visits VOADV

We are honored to have hosted Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Dr. Rahul Gupta for part of his visit to New Jersey to meet with public health providers and learn about our work in reentry and addiction treatment. The Director met with our Safe Return and Navigator team, IMPACT (Immediate Mobilization of Police Assisted Crisis Teams) partnership police chiefs, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office of New Jersey and more to hear about the IMPACT program’s successful outcomes and plans for expansion. Dr. Gupta also held roundtable discussions with elected officials and representatives from Hackensack…

Client Stories of Success

The work we do at VOADV would not be possible without the support and generosity of our community partners. Some of our longest standing support comes from People For The Poor, a South Jersey based charity that raises money for local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. While they have been a significant supporter of our homeless services for decades, People For The Poor’s generosity has had an impact on our entire mission. At their most recent Annual Donation Dinner, the organization’s influence on our clients was clear as representatives from Home For The Brave, Aletha R. Wright Center, Anna Sample…

A Day In The Life: Nilda Natal, Director of Substance Abuse Counseling

You’ve met Latasha Kendrick, a former Moving Forward client who overcame homelessness and domestic violence. We recently introduced you to Jared Bared, an Air Force veteran who turned his life around in Home For The Brave and is working towards independence. Clearly, there is no shortage of inspiring clients in all of our programs. But what about the people working hard to help our clients make those changes while also on their own journey? A perfect example of this work ethic and dedication is Nilda Natal – a valued member of the VOADV team since 2018. Ms. Natal started at…

Client Spotlight: Jared Bard at Home For The Brave

Meet Jared Bard – a veteran Air Force air traffic controller of 8 years, a father, an electrician in training and a resident at our Home For The Brave shelter. Home For The Brave is designed to provide our veterans with supportive housing and supportive services with the goal of helping them to achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and/or income, and obtain greater self-determination. According to his case manager, Ms. Sandra Coursen, Jared exemplifies the determination and progress towards his future that Home For The Brave is intended to assist with. After putting himself through tech school to…

A Day In The Life: D’Yani Kelly, Community Health Worker & Nichole Phillips, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist

The clients at our Aletha R. Wright “Vision of Hope” Center have a lot to think about – finding employment, obtaining identification, meeting their case management goals and their path to permanent housing. Their physical health can often be an afterthought, or considered not as important as taking the next steps toward independent living. D’Yani Kelly, the facility’s Community Health Worker, and Nichole Phillips, the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, are there to make sure that is not the case. Ms. Kelly describes her main responsibility as assisting any client that comes to Aletha Wright with any type of medical need….

New Jersey Reentry Council Launch

We recently announced the launch of the New Jersey Reentry Council at the New Jersey County Jail Wardens Association Conference in Atlantic City. Funded by Pew Charitable Trusts, the Council is designed to bring together reentry stakeholders across disciplines throughout the state to share best practices, resources and overcome barriers. With the unique expertise offered by each member, the New Jersey Reentry Council will be a resource for stakeholders to ensure those we serve are afforded every opportunity for short and long term stabilization pre and post release. We are hopeful that combined efforts through the Council will enhance an…

Leaving A Legacy

“I hope to keep doing the work that positively changes the lives of people while making sure the organization I’m working for has the greatest impact.” – Stephen A. Shultz, May 2017 This quote defines Steve’s valued service to Volunteers of America Delaware Valley, and will now serve as a reminder to everyone who enters our Collingswood office. On September 20, 2022 the VOADV team was honored to dedicate the building to former staff member, Stephen A. Shultz, in honor of his invaluable contributions to the organization. Over 11 years, Steve served as Chief of Staff, Senior Vice President for…

#ShiptBusTour & Operation Backpack®

According to Deloitte’s 2022 back-to-school survey, parents plan to spend an average of $661 per child on back-to-school shopping so their student is prepared for a year of educational success. In fact, according to Deloitte, back-to-school shopping is the second largest annual expense for families after the holidays. There is no question that having the required supplies is important for a student – being prepared to take on another year of school with the right tools in hand can be a game changer. However, when a family is living paycheck to paycheck, children learn to make do with what they have…

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