Steps to Healthy Aging

VOA logo 2014 flush left_tagMy name is Mallory and I am a dietetic intern working with the Healthy Aging Department at Volunteers of America. I worked with Volunteers of America this fall for five weeks, and now I am back again for four more weeks. Working with Volunteers of America has been a very rewarding and unique experience. I have helped with Steps to Healthy Aging and Matter of Balance classes, been a part of nutrition counseling sessions, made handouts and held information sessions for popular nutrition topics, helped with Meals on Wheels, and more. The Steps to Healthy Aging is a class that the Healthy Aging Department offers that combines nutrition and exercise. I enjoyed teaching a few nutrition classes because the participants were so interested and willing to learn new ideas and concepts. Matter of Balance is a class that helps seniors prevent falls through exercise and discussion.

This class is not related to nutrition, but was very eye opening for me to help out with because I never realized how the fear of falling really affected people’s lives. Many of the participants talk about how they do not go certain places because of bad sidewalks or stairs that they would have to climb. One lady mentioned she can’t even go across the street because she can’t make it to the other side before the crosswalk time runs out and she doesn’t want to fall or get hit. It has also been very rewarding to help the dietitian, Molly, counsel clients. There have been a few curve balls thrown in sessions, so it has been very helpful to go along with a professional and see how they would handle certain situations.

It has been great to see the compassion and care that goes in to counseling and also how happy and motivated the clients feel after sessions. There are many nutrition topics that are controversial, so I compiled some information on topics like eggs and popular supplements to make sure people were getting correct and useful information. There are many resources and websites that people use for health information that are not very accurate, so I am finding that it is important to give them correct information or at least make sure they know good places to look. I have briefly gotten to work with Meals on Wheels, which is a program that provides meals for homebound older adults. I have delivered meals to clients, helped prepare meals, and have helped compile Market Baskets. Market Baskets get sent out monthly and get packed with things like fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and cheese. I like working with Meals on Wheels because of how grateful the clients are, many of them mention they would not eat without this program providing them food. I couldn’t imagine having to go without food for the day because I can’t make my own or go out and buy food, so it makes me feel good that I can help in any way possible. Overall, it has been great being an intern with Volunteers of America. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming and they really make me feel like I am part of their team.

Mallory Silliman

Dietetic intern

Volunteers of America, Colorado Branch


This is What Strengthens Colorado Communities

Anadarko Employees volunteer for Basket of Joy, where 6,000 fruit baskets are packed and delivered to metro-area seniors before the Holidays.

Guest blog By Amy Venturi, Director of Social Investment at Anadarko Petroleum, longtime supporter of Volunteers of America and valued volunteer

As a Coloradan and employee of the oil and natural gas industry, I am speaking on behalf of Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) to tell you that fracking benefits us all – personally, my family and my community.

I chose to work in the oil and natural gas industry because, like me, the moms and dads in our industry are dedicated to giving back to Colorado. As part of my role with Anadarko, I quickly introduced my company to one of the area’s strongest non-profit organizations, Volunteers of America (VOA), and since that time, the two have worked side-by-side to strengthen and provide valuable services to Colorado families.

Baskets are packed as part of Basket of Joy. This massive projects makes sure those in need are remembered through the Holiday season.

Anadarko’s community involvement is indicative of the industry’s support for our local communities, charities and non-profits. In 2013, more than 200 oil and natural gas employees volunteered at the VOA, and the industry donated about $100,000 to the organization.

These donations and volunteer hours have helped VOA equip classrooms with school supplies, brightened the lives of Colorado seniors with holiday baskets and provided shelter to victims of domestic violence, among many other worthwhile causes.

A statewide fracking ban would dramatically reduce the industry’s ability to invest in Colorado, which would have devastating effects on organizations like the VOA and countless other non-profits that depend upon a vibrant oil and natural gas industry for funding and volunteer support.

The group photo! After a day of giving back, Andadarko employees are still smiling and ready for more.

So when CRED talks about fracking’s benefits, it goes far beyond just the industry. It spans into every corner of the state—touching the lives of every Coloradan.

As a supporter of the VOA, it’s vitally important for every single Coloradan to seek the truth about fracking in Colorado, to recognize the fundamental role it plays in our modern lives and the benefits it carries for hundreds of organizations that serve all Coloradans.

This is what happens when we work with the Home Depot

photo 2Marine Corporal Sean Terry served the United States honorably from January 2001 to January 2005. Terry did two tours fighting in Iraq, where he was also awarded the Purple Heart for his bravery and service. Terry and his wife, Robyn, have been married for 11 years and have three young daughters. He was diagnosed with Esophagus cancer in September of 2013. Although he fought like only a Marine can, Terry passed away this past April, leaving his wife and three daughters. While he wrestled with cancer, their home fell into disrepair.

Through its Celebration of Service project, The Home Depot® Foundation awarded $15,000 to Volunteers of America Colorado Branch to be used to renovate the photo 3Terry family home. The renovation included a new backyard fence and play area, so the girls can be safe when they play outside, a drop ceiling, new paint, and a basement remodel to be utilized as an additional bedroom. The home was updated on Thursday, July 10 as part of a massive, one-day renovation project.  Volunteers from the Home Depot were ready to offer their expertise to make sure the Terry family had what they needed.
 photo 1 

The Home Depot Foundation’s Celebration of Service initiative supports our nation’s veterans who bravely served our country and made great sacrifices to do so. While serving, the skills and leadership qualities they learn make them valuable assets to communities and businesses. However, veterans and their families can also face major challenges, including housing, unemployment or disabilities.

photo 5Celebration of Service is an extension of The Home Depot Foundation’s larger commitment to improving the homes and lives of deserving families through volunteerism. From landscaping at VA hospitals to retrofitting homes for wheelchair-bound veterans, The Home Depot wants to give back to those who served.

Thank you, Home Depot, for all of your hard work on this project and for helping us provide for America’s veterans!

Jordan Kellerman

Communications Specialist

Volunteers of America Colorado Branch

First, I need to thank ARC Thrift Stores

First, I need to thank ARC Thrift Stores. I know this post might be confusing, but hang on; I will get to my point. Each year ARC Thrift organizes a food drive to benefit Volunteers of America called “Feed Colorado.” The process starts in the ARC call center, where employees, either “Jane” or “James,” make calls to people who have registered to donate to ARC. The callers remind the donors of their scheduled pick up and also ask the donors to set out some canned food for the food drive. As the ARC drivers make their rounds through Colorado, they pick up the item donations and the food.

This drive continues through the month of April and each year ARC sets a new, higher goal. One year it was 140 tons of food, then 150, and higher and higher it goes. ARC sorts the food, packs the food, and holds it until the Volunteers of America City Harvest Food Bank is ready to distribute it to those in need.

City Harvest is a small food bank, in the comparative sense. It’s not the behemoth that is Food Bank of the Rockies, but it does supply smaller organizations with emergency food, seniors with weekend food boxes, and thousands of Volunteers of America clients with food boxes to survive. City Harvest is the type of food bank that picks up the prices when things fall apart, always there to step in a fill the gap between paychecks or when times are tough.

City Harvest feeds veterans and their families who are enrolled in our “Back Home” program to stop chronic veteran homelessness. Whenever a veteran and their family are rehoused, one of their first stops is at City Harvest to get a box of food. Food that came to Volunteers of America through the ARC Thrift Feed Colorado drove. We are able to make sure these families are moving into a house with enough to eat until they can afford it on their own; we are able to feed an immigrant family living above a liquor store with nothing to eat; we are able to provide the next meal for a single, elderly lady who cannot afford to grocery shop because she has to pay for her medications.

City Harvest could not exist without the Feed Colorado drive and the donation from ARC. It is a tremendous gift, one that we can never repay, and one that is very special to us. Working with ARC Thrift is much more than working with a community partner or business. We are happily working together to help our community and this drive speaks volumes for working together to accomplish more.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller


-Jordan Kellerman

Communications Specialist

Volunteers of America Colorado Branch

Good News!

Good News! For the past year, VOA has been working on a capital campaign to build a new Early Childhood Education Center in West Denver. The new building would allow us to double our pre-school classes for children ages 3 and 4, and provide the community with space for gatherings, cooking classes and other activities to keep families active and having fun together. Next month, we will be breaking ground on the new facility!!! We are very excited for this opportunity and thank our special donors who have made this dream a reality.