Welcome to Standing Ready episode 5, “Innovating Volunteers.” This episode looks at how volunteers have built communities of care and support throughout history and continue to meet the needs of Veterans today.
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Today’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) traces its roots back to 1865, as the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. These homes were the first residences for the nation’s sick and disabled volunteer soldiers of the Civil War.
Their establishment was largely through the efforts of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a private volunteer relief agency. The homes supported sick and wounded soldiers. The agency included the ranks of Red Cross founder Clara Barton and Walt Whitman, among others.
One of the largest volunteer programs in the federal government
In 1946, General Omar Bradley modernized and transformed the Veterans Administration and established the VA Voluntary Service (VAVS). VAVS has grown and evolved into today’s Center for Development & Civic Engagement (CDCE).
The CDCE remains one of the largest volunteer programs in the federal government. This episode’s podcast guests are Sabrina Clark and Prince Taylor, director and deputy director of VHA’s Voluntary Service. They will discuss how volunteer efforts that are deeply rooted in history are still evolving and how they have been shaped by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Join VHA historian Katie Delacenserie and producer Shawn Spitler for this episode and past episodes of the Standing Ready podcast. The podcast elevates and highlights the significant contributions (past, present and future) of the nation’s largest health care system through a historical lens by conducting interviews with VHA innovators and pioneers.
To listen to previous Standing Ready podcasts, click here.
Katie Delacenserie is the historian for the Veterans Health Administration.