MLK Day of Service 2013: Helping Tallahassee Veterans Village

voa florida logo

I have become interested in the work of Volunteers of America of Florida, Inc. VOA-FL is a faith-based, nonprofit, 501(c)3 human service organization that responds to the needs of vulnerable Floridians in these areas:

  • Elderly individuals searching for an affordable and independent lifestyle
  • Individuals, families and Veterans experiencing homelessness
  • Persons with disabilities; and
  • Individuals, families and veterans at risk of homelessness or struggling to make ends meet

VOA-FL has 71 programs and services in 18 Florida cities. I need to do some more research in order to fully understand VOA-FL’s impact and recommendations I can make regarding how interested readers could get involved.

In the meantime, I can share that VOA-FL’s primary Tallahassee project is Veterans Village. Tallahassee Veterans Village is a two year transitional housing program for both men and women from all branches of service who need and want to rebuild their lives through being part of this community. Services available at Tallahassee Veterans Village include: Housing, Health Services, Training, Education, Counseling and Employment.

Tallahassee Veterans Village

Homeless veterans do a lot of waiting. In Tallahassee’s case, there is currently a waiting list for spaces to open up at Veterans Village.

Another kind of waiting Tallahassee Veterans do, whether they have secure housing or not, is for transportation. Most residents of Tallahassee Veterans Village rely on public transportation to get around. Access to public transportation strains budgets that are already stretched thin.

That is why, for my Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service 2013 project, I am setting a goal of generating 21 7-day bus passes for the residents of Veterans Village Tallahassee. These StarMetro passes are $10 each. A latte, a brown bag lunch instead of a lunch out, one less happy hour. It’s not much to ask for people who have served us so selflessly.

7-Day TalTran Card

I’ll be buying mine tomorrow and posting it as Wednesday’s Wordless Wednesday. If you’d like to join me, let me know! If you know me, I will work out a way to get the money from you. You can also PayPal it to me at opuswsk {at} aol dot com.

What I like about doing this is that the benefits of the project will last beyond MLK Day. Edmund Burke said, “Edmund Burke: Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” This is an opportunity for us to do “a little” that can have a big impact on a Veteran’s life.

Are you in?

MLK Day of Service



2013: Getting Out Of The Box Sooner

I have seen some interesting prompts for 2013 goal setting and visioning.

I have seen several suggestions that we create a “word for the year” such as this post and any number of boards on Pinterest, such as this one from Mary Nelson-Huffman, whose word is “grow.”

The image most representative to me of my 2012 is my square wreath:

cropped wreath

It’s square because it sat in the box (the wreaths are sent to us every year on behalf of my in laws) for three weeks before anyone liberated it and hung it.  A three weeks where I thought hubs was going to do it because he said, on a day when he was industriously doing yard work, “get out the hook so the wreath can be hung” (said hook was dutifully gotten out). A three weeks where my teenager who was dying to have the house Christmas-y was “doing homework” and didn’t want to hang the wreath (not that homework isn’t important). A three weeks where hubs (about a week into the three) said, “seems like if you wanted it Christmas-y you would have hung the wreath.” Eventually he hung it and said, “the wreath is square.” Indeed.

It has been a year where I did not achieve my only written-down goal of running a 5K in less than 30 minutes, but adopted a new goal in February of running a half marathon for Autism Speaks. The half marathon has been run (in September). The 5K goal is getting transferred to 2013 (not the first transfer of this goal) and the wreath is square.

I don’t regret the delay in reaching the 5K goal that resulted from the training change-up involved in working toward the half marathon goal. I do regret the square edges on the wreath and the multitude of other things that I have let go over the year. The cluttered house; the cluttered office; the Executive Director who kept poking his head in, looking at the clutter (I moved offices right before vacation and came back to many fires to put out) with what I interpreted as “why can’t she get her sh*t together” disdain; the failure to delegate what could be delegated and to just handle what couldn’t as opposed to procrastinating.

If it’s true that “outer order brings inner calm,” then I have nowhere to go but up.

To digress a bit, the best “framing your 2013 resolutions” post I saw was (not surprisingly) from Leadership Freak. Entitled, “Beyond Typical S.M.A.R.T. Goals in 2013,” Dan Rockwell in his typically insightful way asked:

How do you want to think and feel about yourself when 2013 slips away?

– Does your behavior and attitude make you proud of yourself?

– How can you enhance your strengths and minimize your weaknesses?

– What can you do for you?

– How can you help others?

What contribution will you make to the way others think and feel about themselves?

– What can you do to make the future bright?

– How will you bolster self-confidence [for others]?

– How will you let others know they matter?

– How will you make others feel they belong?

– How will you help others work with others?

I can’t tackle all of these questions tonight in one post. But I’m going to let them simmer. I’m going to hope they give you some food for thought as your 2013 gets underway.

Honestly, if I had any guts at all I would share the “kayak” dream with all of you. It’s super-personal and airing it via my blog could hurt me professionally. (But I’m more than happy to share one on one/privately.) In brief, the “kayak” dream told me I’ve missed one particular boat in my life. And that leaves me the challenge of choosing the next boat, the next trip, the next destination.


And maybe that does leave me with a word of for 2013: direction.

A word, direction, and a plan to hang a round wreath for Christmas 2013.