Voices of Impact: Jane Webb Bendolph’s 40 Years at VOA Southeast

Insights from Decades of Service, Passion, and Commitment

In an organization as vibrant and impactful as VOA Southeast, longevity often speaks volumes about its culture, values, and the meaningful work being done. We had the privilege of sitting down with Jane Webb Bendolph, Staff Development Trainer for our Intellectual and Development Disabilities program’s Mobile region and one of our valued employees, who has dedicated an impressive 40 years to serving the community through VOA Southeast. Here, she shares her journey, experiences, and reflections on her remarkable tenure.

What initially drew you to VOA Southeast, and what made you decide to stay for 40 years?

What initially drew me to VOA Southeast was volunteering at a special event to help people served at a party. Those friends who introduced me to this work are Cecelia Turner and Angela Pope. I knew then that I wanted to do this type of work after a successful volunteer project. 

What roles or positions have you held during your tenure, and how have they shaped your experience?

I assumed many roles. I started out as a Direct Support Professional and, to this day, I still work as a DSP, if needed and especially when the COVID pandemic hit. I was an Assistant House Manager, House Manager, Assistant to the Residential Coordinator, Support Plan Specialist, File Clerk, part-time Trainer and currently full-time Staff Development Trainer.

Can you share some memorable moments or milestones from your time with VOA Southeast?

One memorable moment that stands out for me was helping another VOA affiliate after Hurricane Katrina hit.  A group of us went to Palestine, Texas, to relieve workers from New Orleans who were displaced by the devastating blow of Katrina. Carla Stallworth led an eager group who was willing to put in the work needed.

How have you seen VOA Southeast evolve and grow over the past four decades?

Through the leadership of Dr. Wallace Davis, I’ve seen so many programs evolve and thrive.  His vision for growth was incredible.

What motivates and inspires you to continue your work with VOA Southeast after all these years?

What motivates and inspires me is people.  I love people! It gives me great joy to share what I know to others and to help them better serve our program participants.

Can you describe some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced during your career, and how you overcame them?

Biggest challenges I overcame that I faced while working was dealing with very difficult and aggressive individuals. As I learned them and gained their trust, things got better.  I believe my cooking skills did it!

How has your work at VOA Southeast made a difference in the community or in the lives of those you serve?

My work at VOA Southeast has made a tremendous difference in the community of the lives of the people I serve. Community Integration is a big deal for our program participants.  That’s their key to happiness.  Living a full rich life just as anyone else!

What advice would you give to someone just starting their career at VOA Southeast?

My advice to newcomers is to be patient when giving care to individuals. Love what you do and you will pass the test of time.

Looking back on your 40 years, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

Over 40 years, I am most proud of serving others and seeing the VOA Southeast as my family, too.

Finally, what do you envision for the future of VOA Southeast, and how do you hope to continue contributing to its success?

I envision the future of VOA Southeast as growing bigger and better.  Its diverse workforce is a positive move in the right direction.  I hope to continue contributing by helping out when they need a helping hand.  I’ll be just a phone call away.

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