Our Impact: Stories

The Oaks: A Beacon of Hope for Seniors in Need of Affordable Housing

Her former apartment was hardly ideal. Alecia Sanchez, a 70-year-old widow with hardly any family, shared her living quarters with rats—big rats—who had easy access through holes in the walls. This, however, is no longer the case. Sanchez is now safely ensconced as one of the first residents of The Oaks, the newest high-end apartment complex to grace the Dallas skyline. Located in the Oak Cliff neighborhood south of downtown, this senior living community has a unique feature. Affordability. The Oaks represents the culmination of years of planning to bring new, quality affordable housing to Dallas’s senior citizens, both those…

A Big Heart on a Big Day

VOA Texas Supporter, Beverly Terranova (pictured left with her daughter, Marie and husband Gerald) gives generously to VOA Texas on North Texas Giving Day. In the throes of a global pandemic, VOA Texas has been truly blessed by the outpouring of support from donors and friends in the community. Beverly Terranova, 88 of Arlington, is one of many bright stars who shined their light in a time of need. Beverly’s connection to VOA Texas is personal, as her oldest child, Marie, receives support through the Individuals with Developmental Disabilities program. She was born with brain damage and can live on…

Diversity Dialogue: Alexandra Sosa, Hispanic Heritage Month

My name is Alexandra Sosa, and I have been a Financial Coach at Volunteers of America Texas for a year now. I love working here because of the diversity that this organization has. It’s incredible that I work for an excellent place that recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month. I take great pride in being Mexican American, which allows me to embrace and appreciate my rich cultural heritage. The values and traditions ingrained in my upbringing hold immense significance to me. My parents decided to migrate to the United States at 18, embarking on a journey that completely transformed their lives. Witnessing…

Diversity Dialogue: Araceli Salas, Hispanic Heritage Month

My name is Araceli Salas; I am Mexican American and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. My parents migrated to Texas in the 80s during President Ronald Reagan’s term. During that time, obtaining residency was not as tough as now. My mom mainly raised me, and coming to an entirely new country was an extreme culture shock to her. My mom did not know how to speak English, let alone get around the town we grew up in. She relied on neighbors and friends she made to take us to school, doctor’s appointments, and school events. My siblings and I became…

A Load Off, a Hand Up

Terry Saddler is a happy man. He and his family are settled down with a home and all the goods that go with it. He’s also begun planning to bring in a little extra income with lawn maintenance skills he picked up some years ago. “Happy” and “settled” are not, however, words the Conroe, Texas, resident would have used to describe his family’s life a short four months ago. “We’ve been staying in hotels for 2 ½ years,” he explained. Their transition from living securely in a rental home to joining the ranks of the homeless came fast and without…

Maintaining a Positive Mindset

Quentin, 34, spent three years in the United States Air Force before being medically discharged from the military. Since then, Quentin has experienced multiple difficulties as a result of the mental and physical trauma he experienced in the military. He lost his job as a result of COVID-19 which made it difficult for him to pay his bills. Initially, Quentin came to Volunteers of America (VOA) Texas for help paying his bills and finding employment. “The staff at VOA Texas worked to make sure I maximized every opportunity within the organization to ensure my success.” Months after becoming a program…

Choosing to THRIVE

“I was introduced to the THRIVE program through United Way. I was very excited. I thought to myself, ‘This is my second chance at nursing.’” When most of us hear the word “thrive,” we think of what it means to flourish or prosper. For Christine Taylor, however, to thrive means getting a second chance. That’s because when Christine joined VOA Texas’ THRIVE program, she found the way to make a long-ago dream come true: being involved in nursing. Christine, a single mom of a 9-year-old son living with autism, was introduced to THRIVE through the United Way of Greater Houston…

Joyce Moore

An Answered Prayer

“Being here at Thomas Square Apartments is like an answer to prayer for me.” Joyce Moore, Thomas Square Apartments Resident You could call Joyce Moore the ‘Grande Dame’ of Thomas Square Apartments. At 90 years young, she has called the senior apartment complex home for 14 years, longer than any other resident. It’s also a place she says she is grateful to have found. The apartment complex is nestled in the heart of Burleson, Texas, and is owned by Volunteers of America Texas. The faith-based nonprofit provides housing to low-income seniors who might otherwise lack options for a place to…

Why “I” Work With VOA Texas: Sylvie Wagnon

SYLVIE WAGNONDirector, Residential Treatment What keeps you motivated and dedicated after the four years that you’ve been with VOA Texas? Coming to work and being able to provide treatment services for those in need, in an environment where I am supported by my supervisory team, working with others who are self-directed to help others as well, and being in a facility that recognizes that we could not do what we do without God’s guidance and support. Explain how you have benefited from growth opportunities at VOA Texas. I came into the VOA in the top position at my facility. I was given…

Why “I” Work With VOA Texas: Rodney Wilson

RODNEY WILSONManager, Facilities Services What keeps you motivated and dedicated after the four years that you’ve been with VOA Texas? The goal is to help men and women get their lives on a stable foundation in order to lead healthier and crime-free lifestyles. Explain how you have benefited from growth opportunities at VOA Texas. I’ve benefited from growth opportunities by being promoted from a Case Manager to a Facility Service Manager which requires a totally different frame of mind and has more responsibility and new challenges every day. What’s your favorite memory at VOA Texas? My favorite memory would be getting a…

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