About Us


Our Mission

Volunteers of America Upstate New York empowers people in our community to rise out of poverty, move toward self-reliance, and reach their full potential. We accomplish this by providing long-term solutions to homelessness, poverty, addiction, illiteracy and criminal behavior through more than 30 essential programs and services.

Each year, we serve 5,000 people in three key areas: homelessness prevention, childhood education and reentry programs.

Our History

Volunteers of America was co-founded in 1896 in New York City by social reformers Maud and Ballington Booth. The Booths established “posts” throughout the nation, including one in Binghamton that was formed in 1896 and in Rochester during 1901.

The name Volunteers of America was selected when the organization was founded to signify that it was comprised of people voluntarily choosing to help others. Since its earliest days, Volunteers of America brought food, medicine and comfort to people who were left out by other charities.

“We will go wherever we are needed, and do whatever comes to hand to reach and uplift those in need.” - Maud and Ballington Booth

For 125 years, we have supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including veterans, at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Nationally, VOA helps more than 2.5 million people in more than 400 communities.

Our Values

At VOA Upstate New York, our shared values reflect our commitment to the organization, its mission, and the people and communities we serve. These values were the final results from a poll taken by VOA employees when asked about what values they saw at work everyday.

We show compassion toward our clients, customers and co-workers through an awareness of individual needs and circumstances by exercising kindness and empathy.


We uphold individual dignity, value diversity and recognize that we are richer and stronger because of our individual differences.


We are guided by a code of ethical conduct centered on the principles of honesty, truth, credibility and trust. We are accountable for our actions and follow through on our commitments.


We work together as a team and utilize the strengths and abilities of our co-workers, openly sharing information and ideas to achieve common objectives.


We set high standards for ourselves, seek continuous improvement in all that we do, and perform our jobs with the highest quality possible.

Our Community

All VOA affiliates offer various programs and services that are unique to the needs of the community it serves. Our community in Upstate New York ranked 5th in poverty for the entire nation, and 1st among similar size cities for its rate of extreme poverty. Because of this, we are working every day to address these issues and fill the gaps in services in our local community.

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