Virginia Supportive Housing
Virginia Supportive Housing
Monthly Volunteer Newsletter
   January 2014 




Did you resolve to engage in more volunteer service in 2014? If so, it's one of the most beneficial investments you can yourself, in others, and in the community!


"If the benefits of volunteering or altruism could be put into a pill, it would be a bestseller overnight," said [Stephen G.] Post [director of the Center for Medical Humanities at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York], who reviewed more than 50 studies showing that people who act sincerely for the benefit of others enjoy happiness, health and even increased longevity. 


"Engagement and volunteering is the new hybrid health club for the 21st century that's free to join,'' enthuses Harvard's Thomas H. Sander. "Research shows it miraculously improves both your health and the community's through the work performed and the social ties built."


So what are you waiting for? VSH offers meaningful and fun service opportunities for individual and group volunteers throughout the year! To get started, plan to attend an upcoming VSH volunteer orientation to find out more about how you can support VSH and the people we serve! 


For Richmond opportunities, the next session is on Tuesday January 14 at 5:30 at our headquarters (5008 Monument Avenue, 2nd floor). For opportunities in Charlottesville and Hampton Roads, just click on the links below to request a schedule! 


On behalf of everyone at VSH, we wish you a service-filled new year!

In This Issue
Volunteering Matters!
2014 Commonwealth Day of Service
2014 MLK Day of Service
Spring 2014 VSH Volunteer Opportunities
News From Hampton Roads
News From Charlottesville
In-Kind Donation Opportunities
2014 Orientation Schedule
Reminder About Sensitivity Training
Thank YOU For Making 2013 A GREAT Year!
Save The Date!
Service Enterprise Initiative
Our Annual Report Is Now Online!
Invite Us In!
Volunteering Matters!
Hand Heart
In an interview with NPR's Scott Simon on the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, Rabbi Shaul Praver said, "We have found the cure for the social disease of violence, hatred and bigotry, and that cure is good old-fashioned lovingkindness. When everyone practices that it does change the atmosphere of a room, of a town, of a community, of a state and a country. And so, it is not of only local value, but it is of universal value." Of course, many acts of lovingkindness are spontaneous and unfacilitated, but many more only occur within the structured context of volunteering. In this age of technological advancement, cyber communication, and virtual connectivity, volunteering serves as a powerful reminder to us that simple face-to-face engagement with others in our community within a service framework can be not merely healing, but also transformative and redemptive. Volunteering matters!  
Volunteers Start The New Year Off Right With Commonwealth Day of Service!
On Saturday January 4, 2014, forty-three community volunteers recruited through the McCauliffe Inaugural Committee engaged in a VSH service project as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Day of Service. These volunteers spent four hours painting a large vacant apartment owned by Virginia Supportive Housing. Thanks to the hard work of these great volunteers, the apartment is almost ready for a homeless family to move off the streets and into permanent housing. To see photos of the volunteers in action, click on this link. To find out more about how YOU can support the work of Virginia Supportive Housing through volunteer service, RSVP to attend an upcoming orientation! 
Join VSH on MLK Service Day!
If, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others?'" then January 20 will provide a great opportunity to start answering that question. 2014 MLK Day of Service takes place on Monday January 20 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and VSH is proud to be a participating agency in this great community event! Our 2014 Dreams & Visions party will engage community volunteers, VSH clients, and UMFS teens for a day of discussions, exercises, and art activities that focus on 2014 goals & action plans. Interested individuals must register for this activity through HandsOn Greater Richmond. To get started, click on this link! 
Spring 2014 VSH Volunteer Opportunities
Throughout the year, individual and group volunteers engage in all kinds of fun & meaningful activities that support our mission and help our clients in their efforts to stabilize! Below are some upcoming opportunities available for Richmond volunteers:
January 20: MLK Day of Service
January 25: Birthday Party
February 12: Random Acts of Kindness Week Pot Luck Meal
February 15: Valentine's Day Party
February 22: Birthday Party
March 5 - April 20: Lenten Meals
March 22: Birthday Party
April 25, 28, 29, 30: Affordable Housing Awareness Week 
April 26: Birthday Party

To find out more about any of the opportunities listed above, please click here

To get more information on Spring 2014 activities in Hampton Roads, please click here

To get more information on Spring 2014 activities in Charlottesville, please click here.  

News From Hampton Roads
With the opening of Heron's Landing in Chesapeake in March of 2013, Hampton Roads now has four supportive apartment buildings owned and operated by VSH. Consequently, the region offers numerous opportunities for service, and volunteer coordinator Michele Robinson works hard to ensure that community volunteers are actively engaged at all four locations in supporting the tenants in their efforts to stabilize. In 2013, volunteers donated almost 1400 hours of service and contributed thousands of dollars in in-kind donations. VSH was pleased to formally recognize the contributions of Hampton Roads volunteers with its First Annual Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony & Dinner on November 15 at which individuals and groups were honored for their service to and support of VSH and its formerly homeless clients. To find out more about opportunities for service in Hampton Roads in 2014, please contact Michele Robinson by e-mail or call 757-802-4689 ext. 306!
News From Charlottesville
The Crossings at Fourth & Preston proudly celebrated its one-year anniversary in May of 2013, and within a single year many of its residents have experienced important victories on their path to stabilization! Community volunteers have certainly played a role in supporting the tenants  by providing  activities such as: 
  • Pancake breakfasts
  • Health & Wellness Fairs
  • Bingo & social events
  • Monthly birthday parties
  • Individualized GED tutoring
  • Nutrition education

To find out more about 2014 service opportunities in Charlottesville, please contact Resource Coordinator Anne Deery by e-mail or call 434-465-6580! 

In-Kind Donation Opportunities
Did you know that VSH gratefully accepts donations of non-perishable foods, canned goods, paper products, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, and household items throughout the year for distribution to our very low-income clients?
Below are a few of the items we need on an ongoing basis:

Non-perishable food: Canned soup, Canned vegetables, Canned fruit, Canned tuna, Peanut butter, Pasta, Pasta sauce, Dry cereal, Instant oatmeal
Cleaning supplies:, Paper towels, Toilet paper, All-purpose spray cleaner, Bleach, Trash bags, Dish detergent, Laundry detergent

Household items: , Pots & pans, Dishes & cups, Cooking & eating utensils, Tupperware, Shower curtains


Toiletries:, Tooth paste, Soap, Deodorant, Shampoo, Disposable razors 
To receive a complete list and delivery instructions, please click on this linkThank you for supporting the needs of our formerly homeless clients!
2014 Orientation Schedule 
VSH has a need RIGHT NOW for volunteers who can help with administrative needs, routine maintenance, gardening, computer tutoring, and mentoring activities. And all kinds of opportunities are available for volunteers who want to help paint, clean, serve food, celebrate holidays & birthdays, and support the efforts of our clients to get back on their feet!

NOW is the perfect time to get training requirements out of the way
so that you can be a part of the action! To RSVP for an orientation session below, just click here!

Richmond sessions:
Tuesday January 14, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
To RSVP or get more dates, click here or call 804-836-1061!
Charlottesville sessions:
To express interest, click here or call 434-465-6580! 

Hampton Roads sessions:
To request a schedule of dates & times, click here or call 757-802-4689 x 306!
Reminder About Sensitivity Training 
Due to new VSH liability regulations, ALL VSH volunteers involved in direct interaction opportunities MUST complete annual sensitivity training! This training provides important information on client rights, volunteer liability, policy violations, and other reminders. If you have not had sensitivity training within the last 12 months or are unsure, please respond to this message! 
Richmond sessions: 
To request a schedule of dates & times, click here or call 804-836-1061!


Charlottesville sessions:  

To express interest, click here or call 434-465-6580. 


Hampton Roads sessions:

To request a schedule of dates & times, click here or call 757-802-4689 x 306!  


To RSVP for one of the sessions listed above or to schedule a special session for your group, just click here! 


I look forward to working with you!

Alison Jones-Nassar, Volunteer Resources Manager

Virginia Supportive Housing

Thank You For Making 2013 A
In 2013, VSH volunteers donated nearly 8000 hours of service in support of our mission to END homelessness!

 Throughout the year, individual and group volunteers in all three geographic areas (Charlottesville, Hampton Roads, and Richmond) engaged in mission-critical activities that included:

Property Beautification:
Routine maintenance
Fence & porch repair
Shed construction
Spring planting 
Weeding & mulching
Painting & cleaning units
Property makeovers
Garden construction
Decorative murals

Client Interaction:
Birthday parties
Computer classes
GED tutoring
Bingo & Game Night
Movie Night
Holiday decorating parties
Hot meals & cookouts
Pancake breakfasts
XBox Parties 
Wellness Fairs
Nutrition workshops
Client moves
Welcome Home parties
Delivering meals
Delivering donations
Choir performances
Art classes
Bible study

The purpose of VSH's volunteer program is to support our clients' efforts to stabilize in housing and to reconnect them to a caring community

To see VSH volunteers in action, please visit our Facebook page
To find out how you can support VSH in Charlottesville, click here

To find out how you can support VSH in Hampton Roads, click here

To find out how you can support VSH in Richmond, click here
Save The Date!
Save the date of 
Tuesday May 20, 2014, when VSH will celebrate our outstanding Richmond region volunteers with a special dinner and awards ceremony! To see photos from last year's event, click here!
VSH Volunteer Program Strives For Excellence!
VSH is very proud to have been selected as one of six non-profits in the Richmond region to participate in a local Service Enterprise Initiative pilot program co-sponsored by Capital One and HandsOn Greater Richmond

The purpose of this intensive pilot program is to improve the health of the organization & increase its impact in the community by engaging volunteers more strategically

As we strive toward excellence in the coming year, we look forward to expanding & improving our program for the benefit of our volunteers, our mission, and our clients! Stay tuned! 
Our Annual Report is Now Online!
"Thanks to the Crossings I have a great home. I honestly feel if it hadn't of been for this place, I would be on the street drinking. I would be dead. Instead, with the support of the team, I have been sober for one year and five months!" 

Shawn Bradley, a 43-year-old formerly homeless veteran, moved into The Crossings in April 2012. Since that time, Shawn has been sober and his physical health has stabilized. Shawn is now an advocate for the homeless community in Charlottesville, a member of the Homeless Speakers' Bureau, a volunteer with Veterans For Peace, and a volunteer with PACEM emergency shelter. 

To read more about Virginia Supportive Housing's efforts to end homelessness, download our most recent annual report!
Invite Us In!
Scout troop
Do you belong to a congregation, service club, civic group, or scout troop that is seeking meaningful service opportunities that make a difference in the community? Why not introduce your group members to the great work of VSH? We'd love to share our mission, vision, and goals for ending homelessness among our most vulnerable citizens! There are many opportunities throughout the year for groups to support our work through service and advocacy. To find out more, request a presentation! 
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