2021-2022 Hospital Ambassador
Have you ever wondered what VAVS is, and who can participate? Here is valuable information about Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS).
Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service operates one of the largest volunteer programs in the Federal Government, supplementing staff and resources in all areas of patient care and support. In 1946, the VFW Auxiliary became one of the 13 charter members of VAVS. The mission of VAVS is to provide a structured volunteer program under the management of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees in cooperation with community resources to serve veterans and their families with dignity and compassion. (VAVS Participation Guide 2020)
Our need for volunteers has increased due to more veterans being served in the VA system than ever before. Recruiting volunteers is an especially important part of the VAVS program. According to the VAVS Participation Guide, 2020 “If the VFW Auxiliary vision of continued excellence in the future is to be a reality, recruitment efforts must increase.”
I have contacted VAVS Representatives and Deputies to see what has been working in their Departments to increase visibility of VAVS Volunteers and recruiting efforts.
- What ideas have you done to attract new volunteers to the VAVS program?
“Recruiting and explanations through our Department newsletter each month has been beneficial. Public speaking on VAVS Representative and Deputies when asked at District and Auxiliary meetings.” – Karen Kaylor, Department President – Texas
- What information can I share with our membership about this wonderful program?
“It is the only program that not only recruits and recognizes volunteers but allows community involvement to include youth. Benefits outweigh the time invested. Reps, Deps and volunteers offer a positive path and difference in the lives of veterans.” – Karen Kaylor, Department President – Texas
“Telling our members that “we” as volunteers may be the only outside contact some of the veterans ever see. We are the friendly contacts, and we are there to show compassion. Volunteers aren’t asked to volunteer daily, only what is convenient to them.” – Brenda Blair, VAVS Representative Maine
- How have you promoted a new facility in your area?
“Department of Texas has established VA Medical Centers and Clinics. Although Texas does not have any new facilities at this time, each facility is treated as if it is brand new and all opportunities for the caring of veterans are place high for priority.” – Karen Kaylor, Department President – Texas
“The newest VA Facility is in Portland, Maine and the ribbon ceremony was on Valentine’s Day.” – Brenda Blair, VAVS Representative Maine
- What Message of Hope do you have for our members and VAVS Volunteers?
“This organization allows direct contact with the Medical Centers Chief of Voluntary Services, to learn the needs for the veterans. Volunteers, whether Representative or Deputies, have the privilege of interacting with the veterans and provide aid and comfort. Volunteers are looked at like earthly angels that are here for the veterans.” – Karen Kaylor, Department President – Texas
“The Message of Hope I can only ask for is that we stay vigilant in wearing masks, staying safe for our veterans and ourselves.” – Brenda Blair, VAVS Representative Maine
Below is a special section for educating and learning from each other about the VAVS volunteer program.
DID YOU KNOW?
- There are four types of volunteers – Regular, Occasional, Sponsored, Student
- To successfully recruit volunteers, there needs to be a clear understanding of the VA and how it works.
- Representatives, Deputies and volunteers all take their responsibilities seriously as well as responsibility for their roles.
- Our VFW Auxiliary Volunteers provide their services to VA Hospitals, Community Living Centers, outpatient clinics, Fisher Houses, Outreach Centers, Satellite facilities, Federal Cemeteries and State Veterans Homes.
- The VFW Auxiliary VAVS also provides monetary contributions which assist in providing support services, activities and comfort essentials that may not be fiscal priorities of the VA.
- There are more veterans being served in the VA system then ever before. We have an increasing number of aging veterans, younger veterans and female veterans utilizing VA medical centers.
- The VA has been promoting virtual volunteering with homebound veterans.
- The VFW and VFW Auxiliary are charter members of the VAVS program. The VAVS program was formed 76 years ago.
For more information on the VAVS Program and Volunteering, please visit our program resource page or click on the following link https://vfwauxiliary.org/wp-content/uploads/VAVS-Guide.pdf.
Here is additional information on “Hospital Recruiter of the Year.” This award is available to those who recruit ANY hospital volunteers, whether it be VAVS or for any hospital activity. Volunteers do not have to be “regularly scheduled volunteers.” So, if a member recruits twenty people to volunteer at a picnic at a VA hospital, nursing home or any medical facility, they can claim that they recruited twenty volunteers.
Just as a reminder, the member entries for “Hospital Recruiter of the Year” are due to the Department Hospital Chairmen by March 31, 2022. Department Chairmen are to send all entries to the National Hospital Ambassador by April 30, 2022, for judging.
Thank you for all your continued support for our veteran patients and for promoting our wonderful Hospital Program throughout the Nation!