Make a difference: Be a STAR volunteer

Published 5:23 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

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STAR Haven, which stands for Supporting Transforming Achieving Results, is in need of good, dependable, passionate and dedicated volunteers. 

Volunteers should possess a love for the community, know the importance of giving back, and be loyal to the STAR mission, have an open mind, be willing to share ideas and be enthusiastic about life. 

Board and Founding STAR member Terri Hill shared what it’s like to give back to those suffering.

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“I would say it feels like the right thing to do. To service those particular needs that the City of Suffolk is lacking because there’s other cities, and I am from Virginia Beach, other cities do have needs and we’re seeing that our citizens that are in those conditions in Suffolk are put by the wayside,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, that’s not a good fit for any human to be. So to give them that opportunity to start over and have a place that they can reside, again, it just feels like the right thing to do.” 

It’s a spirit of servitude, she said, explaining that it provides hope and a fresh start. “The only person that could revert that into a negative situation is that person that is receiving it,” Hill said. 

Volunteers can be retired with a drive to promote good to others or someone that pays attention to detail and a self-starter. STAR is looking for the person that adds value and can provide insight to happenings in the community. 

There is no minimum number of hours for volunteers. STAR officials said they are pleased to accept any amount of time someone has to give.

Those interested will be provided assignments that match their talents and skills.

Tasks range from passing out food at food drives, assisting with finding clothes from their closets and mental health counseling.

Some fields or backgrounds could include a real estate agent, social services worker, HUD/housing authority, department of corrections, Western Tidewater Community Service Board, Suffolk School Board, construction worker, customer service worker from local business, small business owners or other local non-profit members. 

STAR Haven Vice President Shahe Peele sat down for a recent interview to discuss the organization’s work and goals.

“What we do is we house single individuals from the homeless community and people with mental issues,” Peele said. “We are working to fix the problem in the homeless community as opposed to just finding ways of putting a band-aid on it. Our goal is to get people off the street and get them into programs that will allow them to become self-sufficient, independent and also a productive citizen in the community.”

STAR Haven is a stepping stone to assist people in getting back on track by providing resources to help single homeless individuals lead productive and successful lives. The organization serves the Tidewater region from Virginia Beach to Franklin, including the City of Suffolk.

President Kianna Boone explained how the organization finds help for individuals in need in the area.

“Normally, our process is we’ve gotten calls from other organizations here in Suffolk that work with mental health,” Boone said. “When they give us a call they state the client, their ailment, basically give us an overview of the situation. We get their release of information of course first, we speak with the client over the phone, then we request to have an in-person interview with them, and we do an intake.”

Boone said it’s basically a phone intake initially, followed by an in-person intake, and then it goes back to the board.

“We have seven active board members, right now where we take it back to and we let them know what client was interviewed, what they’re going through, and what we can do to assist them and would that be a good candidate for our program,” she said. “Once it comes back, then we actually contact the client, let them know that they were accepted and we provide a date when they are coming to one of our homes in the community. We serve the Suffolk and Western Tidewater community.”

Anyone with a passion for people is invited to join in supporting their efforts to improve the lives of others. Call 757-793-1888 to volunteer or for more information. To make a mail-in donation, you can send them to P.O. Box 3411 Suffolk, VA 23439

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Editor’s note: Updated Hill’s title and Boone’s quote at 12:49 p.m., Monday, February 27 to reflect the accurate process.