Volunteers of America, national nondenominational organization providing a wide variety of human services as part of a Christian ministry of service. Founded (1896) by Ballington and Maud Booth (see Booth, family) after their withdrawal from the Salvation Army, the Volunteers has developed an extensive system of programs for abused and neglected children, youths, the homeless, and others. The group operates nursing and assisted-living facilities and retirement communities and provides affordable housing for families, seniors, and the disabled. Other services include substance-abuse prevention and treatment programs and work-release and other convict rehabilitation programs. The organization, which is headquartered in Virginia, has more than 12,000 employees and uses more than 60,000 volunteers annually. It also acts as an advocate for those served by its programs.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.