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Acknowledging exceptional employees and new faces for Volunteers of America

Posted Jan. 03, 2014, at 11:34 a.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — About the organization: Volunteers of America is the charity that always steps forward to help the most vulnerable. For more than 115 years Volunteers of America has taken on the most difficult tasks to help the most underserved. Volunteers of America Northern New England touches the lives of more than 5,000 people in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. With nearly 30 programs we provide basic human necessities such as shelter and food or life-renewing assistance such as life skills training, rehabilitation, counseling, wrap-around support services, case management services, community mediation, connection to community resources, and more. Volunteers of America Northern New England is one of 38 Volunteers of America affiliates across the United States.

Our employee of the year: Don Cray, Program Manager for the Intensive Residential Treatment Program (Housing and Treatment for Mental Illness). Don has worked for the agency for 6 ½ years.

Don’s peers elected him as employee of the year. Don’s leadership skills, reliability and most importantly, support for his staff and clients are appreciated throughout the agency.

Don started working as a residential counselor for IRT in 2007. He was prompted to Assistant Program Manager in 2011 and this fall he was prompted as Program Manager. “I had never worked in this field before. I knew my first day of shadowing that this is what I was meant to do. I get a feeling of accomplishment everyday that I work. Such a small act can make such a big difference in building a relationship. A short visit can make all the difference in a resident’s day. It shows that you care, and it validates that they are important. That is why I do what I do,” Don Cray.

The IRT program houses 6 men or women diagnosed with a mental illness that need intensive residential housing and treatment where clients receive one-on-one assistance 24/7. The program has 4 individual apartments in Biddeford and two in South Portland. “The IRT program serves individuals that have typically struggled in other programs. Intensive is the key word of our program. We have some of the most intense clients in the state. We make a difference in our resident’s lives by understanding their needs and meeting them at a needs basis,” Don Cray

Program of the year: Westrum House (Affordable Senior Housing).

The Westrum House provides 27 affordable apartments for seniors in the Mid Coast area.

The Westrum was chosen as the program of the year by the agency for outstanding performance on a wide range of administrative and service measures.

“We believe that our housing allows residents to have a place to call home and that in return it helps to improve the quality of their lives. We don’t provide direct care services like many of the other programs but housing itself is a huge part of a person’s life. My role in working for VOA and providing safe, affordable, quality housing can in turn help improve the health and well being of the residents that we serve. Through affordable housing Resident’s no longer need to worry about repair bills or high heating costs. Resident’s also having the opportunity to develop friendships with neighbors, enjoy many community events, and have access to a Service Coordinator when the need arises. I firmly believe that everyone deserves to have a place to call home and that affordable housing should be available and accessible to anyone that needs it.” Travis Drake, the Director of Housing Compliance.

Travis has worked for Volunteers of Northern New England for 11 years and asserts pride in the work he does with organization. “The senior housing we provide is not only affordable; it is quality housing that I am extremely proud of. We believe that people should be able to age in place with dignity and respect. VOA goes above and beyond to ensure that the Residents have a well maintained facility, with knowledgeable staff that are able to network services with the focus being independence and dignity,” Travis Drake.

Brunswick, ME; December 26, 2013 – At the most recent Board of Directors meeting of Volunteers of America Northern New England,

Sarah J. Davies was voted in as the new Board Chairperson. Ms. Davies has served as the Board Vice Chairperson for the past two years and Chair of the Development Advisory Council. Sarah has been an IT Recruiter for more than 12 years in Connecticut and Maine working with local and national candidates to find the right resources for clients. A Maine native, Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Hartford. Sarah Davies, husband Dan and their two children live in Harpswell.

Cindy Namer was voted in as the new Board Vice Chairperson. Ms. Namer has served on the Board of Directors for several years. She has more than twenty years’ experience in planning, developing and managing all facets of programs and grants for affordable housing and homeless initiatives. Cindy has served as a member of the Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness, State of Maine Policy Academy on Homelessness, Department of Corrections Policy Academy on Re-entry Initiative, and Brunswick Naval Air Base Redevelopment Homeless Committee. Cindy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and Business from the University of Maine and she currently resides in Bowdoin.

Christina Ainsworth

Marketing Intern and

IRT Residential Counselor

14 Maine Street, Suite 301

Brunswick ME 04011

Volunteers of America Northern New England, Inc.

christina.ainsworth@voanne.org

christina.ainsworth@maine.edu

Office: (207) 767-6481

cell: (207) 956-1765

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