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3/11/2011 1:14:00 PM
2011 Verde Pride Awards: Organization of the Year: Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition
VVN/Jon PelletierSome of the folks that make it happen at Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition, the Organization of the Year: (from left) Executive Director Kent Ellsworth, Volunteer Judith Conard, Tech Support Judith Ryan and Volunteer Coordinator Bela Kaincz.
VVN/Jon Pelletier

Some of the folks that make it happen at Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition, the Organization of the Year: (from left) Executive Director Kent Ellsworth, Volunteer Judith Conard, Tech Support Judith Ryan and Volunteer Coordinator Bela Kaincz.

Making people’s lives better and independence possible has been the purpose of the Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition for 18 years.

With more than 200 volunteers, VVCC helps up to 1,300 clients go about their daily lives with transportation, visits, shopping, handyman jobs and more. All of their services are free.

This year, VVCC has been named Organization of the Year for the Verde Pride Awards.

“We’re very excited about it,” said Executive Director Kent Ellsworth. “We are delighted to be recognized in this way.”

A true coalition, the organization was started by local churches, hospitals, community groups and agencies to fill a real need. They wanted to help homebound or handicapped adults increase their independence and stay in their homes.

Through the Volunteer Caregivers Program in 1993, the VVCC was established with daily hours, two phones, two typewriters and a PC set up in office space donated by the Church of the Red Rocks. In 2007, the organization moved to Cornville as the list of clients (called “Neighbors”) and volunteers grew. In 2010, VVCC moved to an Uptown Sedona office, from which they serve every community in the Verde Valley-Sedona area.

With a dedicated Board of Directors, the lifeblood of the organization is the volunteer corps.

“They do what they do because they know they can make a real difference right now,” Ellsworth said.

With 48-hour notice, they can take clients to doctor’s appointments or to the store. Or they can fix a leak or change a light bulb. Or they can simply visit on the phone to see how they are doing.

VVCC is the largest provider of transportation and other supportive services to older adults in Northern Arizona. Since 1993, the caregivers have provided 187,083 hours of services, valued at $3.9 million.

The organization also provides the Guardian Angel Program for those who medially qualify. This includes loaning a Personal Assistance Security System that allows the client to get help at the push of a button.

Ellsworth said that while there are 200 volunteers active at any time, the VVCC is constantly campaigning for even more helpers in all communities. Because heaven forbid the day should come when all 1,300 “Neighbors” call in for help on the same day.

Since its beginning, the Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition has fulfilled its mission of helping others and continues to meet a constant need.

For more information about VVCC or to learn how you can volunteer an hour or two a week, visit www.vvcaregivers.org or call (98) 204-1238.

Related Stories:
• 2011 Verde Pride Awards: Citizen of the Year: Janet Aniol
• 2011 Verde Pride Awards: Educator of the Year: Oak Creek’s Donnie Shanks
• 2011 Verde Pride Awards: Lifetime achiever: Cynthia Fox
• 2011 Verde Pride Awards: Business of the Year award Jerona Java Café, Mary Arkush
• 2011 Verde Pride Awards: Lisa Pender: Verde Valley Tourism Champion


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2011
Article comment by: Mary Eichman

I have been volunteering for many years for Verde Valley Caregivers as a driver taking people to appointments and shopping. I find it a great way to meet new people and hear some very interesting life stories. I would recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in a flexible schedule where you can always say no if a request won't work for you. There is a good orientation program for the group and some special activities, too.



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