Why 'I' Work With VOA Texas: Zella Richards

Zella Richards

ZELLA RICHARDS
DFW Veteran's Outreach Coordinator

What keeps you motivated and dedicated after the nine years that you've been with VOA Texas?

As a previous client, my motivation is to strengthen the vulnerable with effective strategies and tools to overcome, including connect them with viable community partners.

Explain how you have benefited from growth opportunities at VOA Texas?

VOA Texas provided a safe haven and a loving team to help me to not die in my addiction. They have also provided awesome employment, leadership, and spiritual growth opportunities. For instance, I have been elevated to at least four positions, with the most current being the DFW Veteran Outreach Coordinator overseeing an employment-focused program for homeless veterans. I have been on the ministry since 2015; was a member of the VOA National Church Governing Board board for three years; and facilitated Handle with Care training since 2017. Furthermore, I facilitated bible study to incarcerated women in the Lew Sterrett Jail for four years; earned a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and am currently working on my Master's Degree in Theology. VOA TX really does change lives and is mindful of the clients and their staff. It's a great honor to serve. Not to mention, I get to give back what was freely given to me.

What's your favorite memory at VOA Texas?

In 1994, the VOA Texas substance abuse program helped me, a 98-pound crack addict, begin the journey of recovery. I was previously warned, "If you go back on your side of town you will die!" In 2013, the same VOA Texas hired me as a part-time licensed chemical dependency counselor now able to help VOA Texas fulfill their mission to help the most vulnerable to reach their full potential.