VOA Celebrates Women’s History Month

Volunteers of America has a lot to celebrate in March – the organization turned 125 years old on March 8 and Women’s History Month showcases our co-founder Maud Booth’s inspiring work as a social reform pioneer. Even before women were allowed to vote, Maud was actively shaping attitudes on social justice, advocating for the rights of vulnerable members of society, and setting the example for future women as leader of one of the nation’s largest charitable organizations.

The women of Volunteers of America Delaware Valley continue to exemplify that legacy 125 years later as they serve their clients with passion and dedication. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and look back at Maud’s accomplishments, we are also highlighting just a few of the incredible women making a difference in our programs everyday.

Bianca Lopez – Navigator Social Worker and Coordinator of Community Enhancement

When asked how to describe Bianca Lopez, a fellow staff member says, “Ms. Lopez is on fire as soon as she walks through the door. She’s answering questions on the office phone, in-person, and on her cell phone – helping multiple people all at the same time. Above and beyond is not far enough to describe her.”

Ms. Lopez credits her upbringing as her first inspiration for wanting to help people and why it was “inevitable” that she would pursue social work as a career. Several years and three degrees later, her hard work and desire to serve others culminated with a Social Worker/Coordinator of Community Enhancement position, which she describes as a perfect fit.

In this position, she collaborates with community partners and programs to assist Navigator clients that are experiencing homelessness and link them to all the services they need. She also oversees the case management team to help with daily referrals, linkage to mental health, substance abuse, and housing resources.

Ms. Lopez is doing work that she loves – helping to empower some of the most vulnerable populations – and making a difference in people’s lives everyday.

Janaye Sims – Hope Hall Case Manager

Janaye Sims is a Case Manager at Hope Hall, a residential reentry community program for men, where she assists residents with the necessary tools and resources to help them successfully reintegrate back into society. Due to her strong work ethic and dedication to serving clients, she also has “become a proud unofficial member of program operations” where she assists with overseeing the safety of the residents.

Ms. Sim’s dedication to the residents of Hope Hall is evident, as another staff member says, “Ms. Sims has assisted in all areas of the treatment department whenever necessary – she is a true team player.”

Ms. Sims, a former resident of Camden, NJ, where Hope Hall is located, says that the experience has given her a unique perspective that has shaped her passion for serving others.

“It has been the driving force of what I do today. Observing my residents achieve major accomplishments during the most challenging time of their lives is the most rewarding part of serving the community.”

V’Andra McBride – Camden Safe Return Job Developer and Supervisor

Safe Return serves individuals returning to society from incarceration by providing immediate, direct services including access to housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, case management, and employment training and job placement.

V’Andra McBride, a Job Developer and Supervisor at Safe Return, is responsible for helping clients access employment opportunities by forming relationships with local businesses and advocating for the hiring of returning citizens.

She has been drawn to serving others since childhood, as V’Andra credits her upbringing for molding a passion for helping and caring for others.

Her work at Safe Return is the perfect outlet for this desire to serve, as helping a client secure an employment opportunity often can be the first step in their second chance at life.

“My favorite part of my role is supporting individuals in need on their journey to gain independence and a sense of self-fulfillment.”

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