The Holiday Season is fast approaching, but we must never forget the true meaning of these special days. We look forward to Thanksgiving by honoring those things we are thankful for, including the veterans we support, our VOACC chaplains, a new board member and a new employee.
1 Timothy 5:17 "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching."
This past month was National Clergy Appreciation Month, a time set aside to recognize the contributions and service of pastors, priests, reverends, ministers, and all other clergy members.

Let's take a minute to get to know VOACC's Chaplains, Sandra Trice Gray & Joseph Bachota Jr.
Rev. Gray is an ordained Interdenominational Minister as well as a spiritual director, and spiritual development resource. Rev. Gray majored in “Spirituality” at St. Mary’s Seminary and University’s Ecumenical Institute of Theology, which prepared her for a ministry focused on pastoral and spiritual care; spiritual direction and growth; as well as facilitating the spiritual formation of others.
In her role as Chaplain, she serves the spiritual and emotional needs of clients, staff members, and volunteers. She also performs wedding and funeral ceremonies, administers Communion, delivers spiritual messages, offers prayer at public meetings, and provides regular counseling.
Rev. Gray also meets the need of the moment, usually through a ministry of presence, listening and prayer.

"I appreciate the honor of serving as 'God’s presence' with clothes on."  

As Rev. Gray shared, another way of conveying this message is reflected in the following scripture:

Matthew 25:35-36 - “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." 
Another scripture that guides her is: Proverbs 3:6 – “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path.”
Chaplain Joe knew God was calling him to something. But early on, he didn't know what that was. While in the Army in 2001 and stationed in South Korea, he remembers hearing the voice of God ask, “Joe what have I called you to do?" And when Joe answered "preach" God said, “that’s right.” So from there, Joe got busy.

He got connected to a great church and church family in South Korea that had a wonderful Ministers in Training program. In 2005, God ordained him through a church in Georgia, and while on his first tour in Iraq, he served as the Gospel pastor for about 6 months.

Serving as the Chaplain for our Carolina's region, he loves being able to
help people in their time of need and helping the staff when they are in need of spiritual guidance.

"Being there for them through the ministry of presence, giving them words of encouragement, and ministering to them in their time of need is very important to me."

When asked what one of his favorite stories from the Bible was, he chose Matthew 21:12-13

"When Jesus gets angry and overthrows the money changers in the temple, to me, there's nothing like a little 'Jesus house cleaning' to get your juices flowing."
The physical presence between people may have changed over the last 18 months or so. But these difficult times have not hindered the spirit or comfort of God as our ministers continue to do their sacred work.

From the entire VOACC family we want to thank Rev. Gray and Chaplain Joe for providing spiritual and emotional care. Your work is essential to all of us.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 "Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other."
As we continue to highlight our VOACC Board of Directors, we'd like to introduce another new member, Steve Edwards.

Steve Edwards founded Edwards Performance Solutions in 1997 to provide tailored business services and solutions that result in greater operational performance. Since launching his business, Steve has devoted himself and the company to specializing in the implementation of proven processes, methodologies, and emerging technologies – driving mission success for commercial businesses,
government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Now as Founder and Executive Board Member of Edwards Performance Solutions, Steve focuses on strategies that build relationships and leverage market conditions to promote corporate growth, while holding true to the company's vision and core values.

To get to know Steve a bit more, we asked him a few questions.

What about VOACC inspired you to join the Board of Directors?

I was introduced to VOACC President and CEO, Russ Snyder, in 2019. Prior to meeting Russ, I did not know much about the VOACC organization. I was extremely impressed with the organization and their mission; and the more I learned, the more I was overcome to get involved. The VOACC mission and vision align closely with my personal beliefs, as well as my organization’s corporate agenda. As someone who owns an organization going on 25 years, I wanted to offer my skills and perspective to help VOACC continue to grow and flourish, and explore how I might assist in extending their outreach.

What are you looking forward to the most as a member of the Board? What are your goals?

As a new Board member, I look forward to learning more about VOACC's programs and collaborating with other Board members to see where I can best apply my experience and expand my perspective. My goal is to promote VOACC’s initiatives and get others involved to help expand the reach of VOACC’s brand and initiatives.
To see all of Steve's responses and learn more about him, click here.
To learn more about Steve and his company, click here.
VOACC's spiritual development and growth targets are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is our desire to grow spiritually and produce that kind of fruit.

Last month we launched our 2021-2022 season of our popular Healing Conversations on the topic of The Wisdom of Healing Through Mindfulness

To watch the video recording of October's conversation, click here.
To learn more about our upcoming Healing Conversation topics, click here.
Finding mental health support can be difficult even if you have a support system and insurance. If you are low-income, uninsured or underinsured, or belong to an underserved community, the road to mental wellness can be an ever steeper climb.

People Like Us is a community-wide campaign led by VOACC to give hope, break the stigma and support recovery for underserved community members in Prince George’s and Baltimore Counties in Maryland.

Watch last month's webinar on Substance Abuse Among Older Adults by clicking here.

To learn more about People Like Us, visit
VOACC is proud to welcome J. Caprice Brown as our new VP of Virginia Programs.

Caprice started at our organization on October 11th and has been energetically working to get oriented with the organization as a whole and with each of our programs.

Caprice earned both his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and his Master of Public Affairs degrees from The University of North Carolina in Greensboro, NC. Caprice has extensive experience in nonprofit program management and leadership. He has spent over 25 years working with nonprofit organizations to develop,
implement and evaluate programs and projects focused on alleviating poverty and hunger while also building the capacity to improve the quality of services.

"I’m excited to work with Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas because of the positive impact that the organization has on communities and individual. The services that organization provides to youth, elderly, people with disabilities, etc. is vitally important today and I am excited to join the efforts." - Caprice Brown

He has worked with organizations in North Carolina, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, and Kentucky. One of his key experiences includes helping Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) partner with community-based organizations to address needs related to social determinants of health.
"We welcome Caprice to the Chesapeake & Carolinas family and look forward to his leadership, strategic skill set and passion for the communities we serve." - Candace Vanderwater, COO
In honor of Veterans Day, we are highlighting three wonderful stories about veterans in our North Carolina Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) programs. To learn more about the program, click here.
David E. had lost his job and he was admitted into the SSVF program in Salisbury NC within one week. Within two weeks, his case manager was able to submit a check request for his October rent, a late fee he was charged and his November rent. As a result of awesome communication and team work between the case manager and David, VOACC was able to prevent his eviction. David’s landlord was extremely grateful to the program and expressed that he was open to partnering with our office in the future to assist more veterans.
Anthony P. from Rocky Mount, NC lived with his mother for most of his adult life helping take care of her. After his mother passed away, he was at risk of eviction because he was not on the lease. Anthony came into our SSVF program with very low income but a lot of determination. After being in the program only four months, Anthony was successfully housed and has remained housed since August. Anthony will soon be transitioning out of the program and ready to maintain his housing without SSVF assistance. 
Deonta J. was living in his vehicle and was also seeking employment in Durham, NC.  Our SSVF program provided three months of Emergency Housing Assistance at a local hotel until we were able to secure him permanent housing. Deonta was also proactive in his housing and employment search. Five months after being enrolled in the SSVF program, he is now stably housed and excited about his new journey in life. 
Harvest For Hope
Our 12th annual Harvest for Hope campaign in support of our Virginia and DC programs is happening now!

Learn more about how you can make a difference as we prepare to support those in need during the Holidays.

To learn more, visit
This year's Harvest For Hope focuses on supporting our behavioral health and veteran services programs in DC and Virginia. To view the video recordings of recent virtual tours of our VOA Hope Center in DC and our SSVF program in Virginia, click the icons below.
Since 1991, this center has offered clinic and community-based behavioral health and substance use recovery services to uninsured & underinsured DC residents.
Learn how we ensure over 350 veterans and their families obtain and maintain housing, and access the resources they need to be independent.