VP, Rob Stedman, Honored with National Award

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PCS Alumnus/VOA Leader Rob Stedman Receives National Honor

The Volunteers of America (VOA) National organization is honoring Rob Stedman, Vice President of Services for Children & Families for Volunteers of America Upstate New York (which is based in Rochester), with its ‘Leadership in Program Management’ Award. The Leadership Awards are presented to VOA staff whose hard work, loyalty, and dedication exemplify the highest ideals of the organization. Out of 32 VOA affiliates across the nation, only two staff members were chosen to receive this prestigious award. Mr. Stedman was honored on last Wednesday, May 12, 2021 during the awards ceremony that was held virtually as part of VOA’s National Conference series. The VOA Children's Center has received multiple awards under Mr. Stedman’s leadership, and most recently, he was awarded the Exemplary Early Childhood Education Award by Rochester's Association for the Education of Young Children in 2020. “I’m very fortunate to have such a tremendous staff that has made all of this possible. We’ve been able to adapt quickly and evolve during such a critical time—and being able to remove these barriers for students and their families is a huge testament to how essential the VOA is and the work being done every day. These services we are providing are crucial, and without the VOA Children’s Center many of these children would otherwise be left behind,” he said.

Rob has been VOA’s Vice President of Services for Families and Children since 2012, and has led the wide array of programs based at the VOA Children's Center on Lake Avenue in Rochester. VOA’s nationally accredited Children’s Center is the largest provider of Early Childhood programming in the city of Rochester, serving more than 400 children—from 6-weeks-old to 12-years-old—annually through a continuum of programs and services that include:
• Pre-K programs (on-site, hybrid, and virtual)
• Head Start and Early Head Start
• Enriched programming for school-age children (schoolyear and summer)
• Enriched child care
• Summer Kindergarten readiness program and Summer LEAP

“Rob's efforts over the past 9 years has allowed our Children's Center to thrive, and this has been especially true during the pandemic. Rob has navigated the many difficulties brought upon by COVID, and despite adverse conditions Rob led his team in establishing virtual programs, in-person child care, and hybrid programs that have resulted in our serving even more children in our community,” said Lynn Sullivan, President & CEO at VOA Upstate New York. “For parents who relied on their children being in school in order to work or attend school themselves, this provided a safe haven for their children to learn and thrive.”

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the VOA Children’s Center has:
• Served 454 students through in-person, hybrid, and virtual educational programs
• Provided full day enriched child care so parents could return to work
• Provided Pre-K, Head Start, and school programs to children on-site and virtually.
• Created a safe educational environment - with daily health screenings, an on-site nurse, contactless thermometers, and enhanced cleaning protocols to keep kids safe while on-site at the center
• Provided links to more than 500 educational websites and resources to support kids who were participating in online learning sessions, and posted more than 947 educational videos for students learning at home.
• Distributed more than 1,400 educational activity packets for children to work on from home while the center was closed
• Deployed more than 200 iPads for families with a need. This allowed children to access virtual learning programs safely at-home

About Volunteers of America Upstate New York: Volunteers of America Upstate New York (VOA) is a local non-profit human service organization that serves more than 6,000 men, women and children annually in Rochester and throughout Upstate New York. The agency’s mission is to empower people to rise out of poverty, move toward self-reliance, and reach their full potential. VOA offers a wide array of programming in three key areas; early childhood education for at-risk children; supportive housing for homeless and low-income individuals and families, and reentry programs for individuals who are or have been incarcerated. Visit voaupny.org to learn more