Volunteers of America was founded in 1896 by social reformers Ballington and Maud Booth. They envisioned a movement dedicated to “reaching and uplifting” the American people. On behalf of the organization, the Booths pledged to “go wherever we are needed, and do whatever comes to hand.” That declaration continues to guide Volunteers of America’s outreach efforts today.
When Maud and Ballington Booth thought of names for their movement 120 years ago, one word remained prominent: “volunteer.” In those days, a volunteer was anyone who was committed to a mission or cause. Since its earliest days, when Volunteers of America brought food, medicine and comfort to people not served by other charities, volunteering has been instrumental in every aspect of the organization’s ministry of service.
For more information on our history and national organization please visit www.voa.org/our-history.
Volunteers of America Oklahoma serves over 2,300 Oklahomans monthly providing housing assistance to individuals with mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, employment and housing for veterans, affordable senior housing for the aging, and residential and vocational support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Volunteers of America Oklahoma’s purpose is to respond to Oklahomans in need and to create opportunities for people to experience the joy of serving others.
Ministry of Service
In addition to being one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive human services organizations, Volunteers of America is an interdenominational church — a church with a distinctive ministry of service. For more than a century, Volunteers of America has provided essential services to heal both the body and soul. We provide human service programs and opportunities for individual and community involvement for people of all faiths. Our ministry is one of service, nondiscriminatory in the delivery of our services, providing assistance to people of all faiths. Volunteers of America never requires those we help to participate in worship services or even to acknowledge specific beliefs. Yet, all of our programs and human services are motivated by and exemplify Christian beliefs and principles. Many of Volunteers of America’s religious beliefs and practices can be traced in a direct line to the Methodist reforms and revivalism of the 18th century, and the social gospel movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries. More immediately, the church of Volunteers of America is an outgrowth of Salvationism, founded in England in 1878 by William Booth, an evangelical Methodist minister and the father of Ballington Booth, co-founder of Volunteers of America. Volunteers of America has been ecumenical from the beginning. Its ministers have always come from all Christian faith traditions. In fact, ministers are encouraged to be active in other Christian churches for worship, service to others and continued spiritual growth. This understanding of ministry derives from the foundation of Volunteers of America as both a church itself and as an “auxiliary” to the universal Christian church with a special mission of service. Volunteers of America offers people a very unique opportunity to put their faith into action. Working together with the help of our committed volunteer board members and volunteers, we can achieve our collective mission and make the world a more compassionate place to live.