Volunteers of America adds more outreach in Western South Dakota
Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. They are one of America’s oldest nonprofits and recently added more outreach in western South Dakota.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Volunteers of America of the Northern Rockies or VOA serves as a type of community navigation system for those in crisis and has seven entities locally, including Black Hills Area Homeless Coalition Coordinator, HIV Prevention and Ryan White Part B programs. They also host Mommy’s Closet, a crisis center for families with children five and under and the only local diaper bank.
Kelly Folsom, VOA Advancement Specialist, says, “We provide services that no one else does in our community and that is through our HIV health services, we serve all of western South Dakota. And then Mommy’s Closet is kind of on the front lines and we see about 250 families a month, so there is a lot of people in need of basic items for their families.”
VOA also has Veteran Outreach Center, a place for veterans to enjoy camaraderie with other vets along with many other amenities. Veteran Housing Retention Coordinators are on site by appointment to help veterans reintegrate into the community by connecting them with resources for housing, employment, healthcare and other basic life necessities. The intense case management prevents homelessness in veterans rather then reacting to an issue.
Laura Scott, VOA Housing Retention Coordinator, says, “We have clients on our case load from age 24 to 86. We have helped from everything from bed bugs to getting identification documents, transporting clients, to grocery shop to pay their bills, or interact with DSS, because they don’t have transportation. We provided Christmas for a veteran family that hadn’t had Christmas in five years, they had a 5-year-old that didn’t know who Santa Clause was. We very much live by having an open heart and being open to whatever our day brings.”
Finally, they offer Camp POSTCARD which stands for Peace Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams – a value-based program for 10-12-year old students who need positive life experiences. Somewhere between 85-110 students participate in the program each year.
Folsom says, “They connect with local law enforcement and it’s a wonderful mentorship program that takes place year-round.”
VOA also has a food bank for their clients.
VOA has many opportunities to get involved with donations, monetary offerings or time. Click here for more information or call Kelly at 605-415-0907.