One of the greatest business lessons students have learned this year is adaptability and flexibility. For full time dental hygienist and student, Deanna B., it was particularly challenging. She is completing her requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
“I needed to complete 30 hours of service learning for my research graduation project,” noted Deanna. Because she had previously volunteered
at Opportunity House, she called us to see what was available. Volunteer Coordinator, Stacy Perlaki suggested she work with the Veteran Program. Since Deanna was working full-time and at high risk for COVID-19, she needed a contactless opportunity. This project fit the bill.
The project involved helping research and create outreach contacts for the program. “It’s essential that our communities know about the Veterans Program,” noted program director, Holly Wolf. Deanna provided email or mailing addresses for legislators, social service agencies, VFWs, American Legions, churches, police departments, district justices, and other organizations that may encounter veterans. Creating these lists was a big undertaking.
“I learned about the services that Opportunity House provides to our community,” added Deanna. The Veterans program is positioned to reach more veterans in the communities we serve. “Through this work, Opportunity House is able to provide help to many more veterans,” she added.
Deanna was fortunate to see the results of her hard work. Preliminary statistics showed that substantially increased our reach in all the communities we serve. With consistent outreach, the SSVF program will continue to expand its reach in the communities we serve.
Deanna encourages others to consider volunteering for Opportunity House. “It was an amazing service to work with. The people I worked with were so great with communication and providing the help and guidance I needed,” she noted. She added that was comfortable with the working arrangement and enjoyed the experience.
The Veterans Program at Opportunity House provides Veterans who are homeless with access to emergency shelter. This includes providing a bed, three meals, and a snack, access to laundry facilities, and warm showers. One-on-one case management and professional counseling services address the root causes of homelessness and help clients develop a plan to become stably housed. Working with the Lebanon VA Medical Center, veterans get access to healthcare services, mental health services, and drug and alcohol treatment.