God Shed His Grace on Thee!
By Collin Day, VOASE Communications Intern
Even the toughest of men need a helping hand sometimes. This was the case with Ruben Johnson, an entrepreneur and veteran of the United States Navy. After the death of a loved one, Mr. Johnson found himself depressed, abusing drugs and alcohol, and eventually becoming homeless. At the urging of his daughter, Mr. Johnson sought assistance and entered the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.
SSVF is a program of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, formed to prevent homelessness and transition struggling veterans and their families to long-term housing. Since 2012, it has granted funds to various organizations that are able to provide services to those warriors who need it most. “We provide case management and financial resources to assist veterans to become stably housed in our communities.” said Chad Chesire, SSVF Program Director. “Through a partnership with the Houston County Human Needs Coalition and the Macon Bibb Homeless Coalition, it is our mission to help homeless veterans find homes and to allow them to become self-sufficient.”
Since 2014, Volunteers of America Southeast, has operated the SSVF program in Georgia, providing services to approximately 250 veterans and their families each year.
However, this program is not only about material comforts. According to a 2016 report prepared by VOA, the majority of veterans who participated in the SSVF program reported a positive increase in quality of life. Chasire confirmed the study’s results, stating that, in addition to the housing and employment benefits, many veterans like Ruben Johnson reconnect with family and recommit themselves to their faith.
Today, Mr. Johnson has conquered his addiction and is no longer homeless. With the help of his family, he is looking forward to what his future has in store. If you would like to assist in the journey of veterans like Ruben Johnson, please visit voase.org.
VOA was a Beacon!
“I almost got kicked out of the program, but I decided to go back, set goals, and get a job.” Tara Perkins will tell you first hand that, had she not made that decision, there is no telling where she would be. Tara is a 2017 graduate of Project Search, a Volunteers of America Southeast (VOASE) supportive employment program that works with high school teens with disabilities.
Tara was our 3rd annual Beacon on the Bay guest speaker. “Her story showcased the value of this program, so we decided to share it with our friends” said Anthony Lewis, VOASE coordinator of supportive employment. Job coaches work one-on-one with each intern to ensure a positive learning environment that will set the pace for a successful future. With partners such as Mobile Infirmary and Providence Hospital, the students get to intern in the hospitals while being mentored. The goal is that, once the internship is complete, the individual is placed in the community with a job and goals are set to get them started in their careers.
Beacon on the Bay not only featured Tara’s story, but Dr. Wallace Davis, President and CEO of VOASE, gave a brief overview of the work the organization is doing. Eagle’s Landing, our transitional housing program for veterans, is thriving with 38 veterans who are getting the skills, benefits, and training they need to live on their own. Our Community Enrichment Centers serve hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities, giving them the tools they need to be as independent as possible. Our addiction recovery program allows a mother and her children to find comfort while going through the process of getting healthy and strong. These are just a few of the things that we are able to do with your support.
This year, Beacon on the Bay raised nearly $25,000 for our direct services. The money will benefit those we serve in various ways, such as healthcare, food, transportation, and daily necessities.
Volunteers of America Southeast appreciates our sponsors and donors. Thank you for believing in our mission and work!