Volunteers of America (VOA) Celebrates 119th Anniversary with the Announcement of New Projects

Volunteers of America Upstate New York (VOA) celebrated the anniversary of the agency’s founding this morning by announcing several new projects that the agency will undertake in the coming months.

VOA’s President and CEO, JoAnne M. Ryan announced that Volunteers of America is partnering with the City of Rochester Police and Fire Departments to launch a unique summer camp program called Camp HEROES. Camp HEROES will be a free, week-long summer camp for 5th and 6th grade girls and boys who live in the City of Rochester who have had first-hand experience with incarceration (either themselves or a family member).  The camp will be staffed solely by volunteer law enforcement officers and firefighters, and the interactions with the kids during the week of camp helps to create trust, build bridges and keep kids on the right track at a critical point in their lives.  Camp HEROES is modeled after a similar VOA camp in Maine called Camp POSTCARD, which has been successfully operating for more than 20 years with very positive results.  

This will be Camp HEROES inaugural year and will provide a positive experience for 44 at-risk children and help them to build relationships, learn life skills and change their perceptions of police officers and firefighters. It will be held at the Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus in the late summer, from Sunday, August 30th through Friday, September 4th. “This camp experience will provide a safe environment for the children to share their thoughts, feelings, ideas and learn the importance of self-respect, respect for others, teamwork, self-control and dignity. This camp will involve children whose lives have been impacted by incarceration and will hopefully change their perceptions of law enforcement and make a positive impact on their lives and their future,” commented JoAnne M. Ryan, President & CEO of Volunteers of America Upstate New York.

VOA also announced that it will be creating an affordable housing complex for seniors in Webster through a joint venture between Volunteers of America and Conifer Realty. The housing complex will be named Cobblestone at Ridge and will boast 60 units of independent living apartments for seniors (54, one bedroom and 6, two bedroom apartments).  All of the units will be adapted in order to meet the needs of residents who may be in a wheelchair or disabled and supportive services will be offered to ensure seniors have access to the care and support they need.

This senior housing project received funding through various state, local and federal sources including a $300,000 FHLB (Federal Home Loan Bank) award, a $6,000,0000 MRT award (Medicaid Redesign Team funds), and potentially securing NYS HFA (Housing Finance Agency) financing in April.  The project timeline includes a groundbreaking on the 10 acres parcel of land May 2015, with completion of the project scheduled for early 2016.