Our History is to go wherever we are needed and do whatever comes to hand. Our Mission is to serve people and communities in need and create opportunities for people to experience the joy of serving others. Our Purpose is to answer the call for our most vulnerable neighbors.
The VOAWW Story
In the days of our founding in 1896, a "volunteer" was anyone who was committed to a mission or cause. Our name signified that the organization was comprised of people who had chosen to spend their lives helping others.
Today, our services are delivered through a partnership of professional staff, volunteers and other community supporters. Volunteers are instrumental in every aspect of our ministry of service and help us reach thousands more people than we could with staff alone.
The Volunteers of America movement spread to Western Washington in 1898, just two years after founders Ballington and Maud Booth proclaimed in New York that they would "go where we are needed and do whatever came to hand." Teaching people how to lead self-sufficient lives has been a cornerstone principle in this evolving organization.
As the Booths were charting the organization's national history, for many years locally, Volunteers of America developed its community-based programs separately at two affiliate locations in Seattle and Everett. In 1999, these affiliates merged into what is now known as Volunteers of America Western Washington and responds to more than 350,000 requests for assistance each year.
Responding to needs in Western Washington
Volunteers of America was an evangelical presence in Seattle in 1898. After becoming incorporated in 1912 as Volunteers of America of Washington, the organization's work gradually evolved into a social service agency.
Volunteers of America Northwest Washington began in Everett in 1915 and operated as an outpost of the Seattle-based affiliate, offering early programs that centered on the Men's Rehabilitation Center and thrift stores. By 1927, services expanded to meet the area's growing needs, and the outpost became a separate branch of National Volunteers of America.
Between 1927 and 1978, this chapter grew to include several new programs including a Sunday school, youth programs, and Camp Volasuca, a summer camp in Sultan. In 1971 and 1974, through many local partnerships, new camp facilities were built including a large and small A-frame and a bathhouse.
In 1985, the national office granted a charter to begin to operate as a Washington State nonprofit corporation.
Our Ministry of Service
Volunteers of America is a movement of faith in action, an ecumenical community of faith united in service to God and to humanity. Our Christian spiritual foundation truly sets Volunteers of America apart from most other human services organizations.
Compassion, healing, and hope motivate us. These building blocks of our faith have led us to create programs and services that go to the heart of our community's needs, serving our most vulnerable neighbors.
VOAWW’s Commitment to Justice
The events throughout America in the Spring of 2020 highlighted long-standing injustices. To respond to the needs of historically marginalized communities and live up to our values, VOAWW formed the Floyd Committee, dedicated to the movement inspired by the death of George Floyd and comprised of a cross-section of our front-line staff and leaders.
The Floyd Committee works to advance our justice, equality, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) goals throughout the State of Washington, in partnership with over 480 staff and nearly 800 volunteers. Our JEDI work guides our ongoing efforts to make VOAWW a place where we can each thrive through relationships with others, understanding history, self-reflection, and listening to those who have been excluded from holding power and influence. By honoring and learning from each other, we will be a stronger VOA, a stronger community, and a stronger country.
If you have questions about our JEDI work, please reach out to Chief Administrative Officer Brian Rice at email@example.com.