The Many Meanings of "Volunteer"

If you’ve landed on this website, there is a good possibility you have been looking for ways to volunteer in your community, and seeing the words, “Volunteers of America,” meant your search was over.

No doubt, volunteering is a good thing because, after all, that’s something that makes the world a better place for all. But as the Bard wrote, “What's in a name? That which we call a rose (or Volunteers of America) by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Simply put, if we changed our name from Volunteers of America, we would still be one of the largest providers of affordable housing and skilled nursing care in the country. Our organization’s employees would still not be volunteers, but the 16,000 paid professionals who serve as administrators, caregivers, skilled nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, housing experts, architects, and a number of other positions that have kept this nonprofit, human services organization running for more than a century.

Yes, Volunteers of America is a misnomer. But with that said, we are glad you landed here, and we hope you will take a look at what’s happening in our more than 400 programs and services across the nation.

By the way, there are some volunteer opportunities at various affiliate programs, but the best way to find them is to go directly to www.voa.org/find-an-office and give them a call!

Also, if you are looking for specific services related to seniors, veterans, children, youth, and families, substance abuse, corrections, homelessness, developmental disabilities, and so much more, you can learn more about the services we provide.

Lastly, if you are interested in why we are called Volunteers of America, read on below. After all, the Bard was a pretty smart guy.

16,000 professionals in the fields of affordable housing, skilled nursing care, veteran services and more. We’re not volunteers. Check us out. We are more than a name.

Founded in 1896

When Volunteers of America was founded in 1896, to “volunteer" one's time in service to others was a full-time commitment. Our founders came to call themselves "Volunteers of America" because they volunteered their whole lives to help people in need. This included - not only volunteering their time - but also their hearts, their spirits and their professional careers.

Millions Helped

Today, each year Volunteers of America touches the lives of 1.5 million people in over 400 communities in 46 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico through programs that are staffed by full-time, paid professionals who have adopted this same ideal of service as their full-time mission. However, that does not mean that we do not also depend on an army of modern-day “volunteers" who offer their free time to support our volunteer programs nationwide. In fact, in 2019 more than 55,000 volunteers devoted more than one million hours to hundreds of Volunteers of America programs and activities nationwide – and we can always use more volunteers!


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    Local Volunteers of America Offices

    Volunteers of America has a number of programs that individuals can volunteer for locally. We have 30 offices covering 46 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. To see volunteer opportunities in your area, please visit the website of the local office in your state.

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    Senior Living and Care Communities

    Volunteers of America owns and operates 23 senior living and care communities and programs throughout the United States, including in-home health care, adult day centers and Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). We offer a range of care choices to older adults and individuals who are disabled, people who benefit from the support of volunteers like you.


    Volunteering is the perfect way to feel connected to your community.


    Offering your skills and enthusiasm will positively impact the lives of others as well as your own.


    Volunteerism assists in the overall improvement of the quality of life for everyone.


    Volunteering promotes social change.


    Volunteerism fosters relationships and interaction with others.