VA Maryland Health Care System
Health Watch: Fall Winter 2017-2018
Opportunities to Make a Difference
Annette Mann, Veteran, enjoys being on the road chatting with Veterans as a volunteer driver.
Steve Lewis, Veteran, builds office skills while helping the needs of fellow Veterans.
As the Program Manager for Voluntary Service for the VA Maryland Health Care System, Kern and her team work with more than 1,230 individuals who contribute their time and talents to support both clinical and non-clinical areas throughout the health care system, and beyond.
Take the Volunteer Transportation Program, for example. Run by a team of volunteer drivers, schedulers and coordinators, the program provides transportation in a vehicle donated by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) for Veterans to get to scheduled VA clinical appointments.
As program coordinators, volunteers Steve Lewis and Annette Mann, both Veterans themselves, spend much of their time in an office ensuring the program runs smoothly.
For Lewis, the administrative aspect of this volunteer role appealed to him. As part of a Labor Department program for seniors, it is helping him acquire the experience he needs to reenter the workforce. "I enjoy being engaged in the community and assisting other Veterans," he said. "This is an opportunity to help fill the needs of my fellow Veterans, while also giving me new skills and hands-on experience at the same time."
While Lewis builds office skills, Annette enjoys being on the road chatting with Veterans as a volunteer driver. "I'm a Veteran, and it's enlightening to talk to other Veterans," she said. "They are so grateful for the service. I love it."
"This program helps Veterans who would otherwise have no way to get to their clinical appointments," says Kern, adding that the program could use more volunteer drivers. "But if that's not your thing, we've got probably 50 other things you could sign up for. The opportunities are really endless, and they all offer fulfilling ways to give back to our Veterans."