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Kelly’s Story: Assisting Families Through Crisis

Kelly’s Story: Assisting Families Through Crisis

As part of our efforts to serve our community, Valley Health partners with organizations across our service area.

One of those is the Valley Assistance Network (VAN). VAN is a nonprofit, resource and referral system within the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. VAN was established to assist a family’s transition from crisis to stability. Shelter, food, clothing, medical care, and job training are some examples of vital resources VAN can connect people to in our community.

Kelly Walker works with VAN as a resource navigator. She is also a member of Valley Health’s Wellness Services Team.

“As a resource navigator, I field intakes and help connect people to the most appropriate resources for their needs. My health education and health coaching background at Valley Health serves these clients in connecting them with needed healthcare services as well as empowering them to be more active participants in their care plan for better outcomes and experiences, positively impacting quality of life and their ability to thrive.”

VAN is also part of the Connect NSV (Northern Shenandoah Valley) Network powered by Unite Us, a technology that gets people in touch with resources without them having to leave home. Partner agencies can connect and collaborate, saving time on how to best serve shared clients.

“I feel so fortunate to be a part of VAN’s work, which I’ve seen first-hand impact our local community,” said Walker. “Since COVID-19, 75 percent of cases were to assist clients with housing-related costs such as rent, mortgage, utilities, and motels. On top of that, the work VAN has done from the start of the pandemic through September has helped prevent 158 evictions, kept 185 utilities on, provided 44 families with shelter, gotten 24 health-related needs met, and resolved 20 transportation needs.”

Recently, Walker volunteered time to run VAN’s table at a community outreach event in Winchester hosted by the Virginia Department of Health. Flu shots and other resources were available to all attendees.

Showing a bright smile and providing free blood pressure screenings, Walker is an example of the year-round, in-kind gift of professional staff time Valley Health provides community organizations.

“Valley Health has donated man hours and resources to VAN, which go directly into assisting our neighbors in need. VAN credits partner agencies, donors, and volunteers for making all of these outcomes possible!”

Walker added VAN is looking for volunteers to help process CARES applications. Volunteers can work from home or at their office, located at 329 N. Cameron Street, Winchester. For more information, call 540-773-3178 or visit their website.

“VAN is a team of hard workers who care passionately that all of our community members are able to live their best lives, which is also what drives me, so it’s a rewarding partnership. They are the real deal!”

Valley Health employees can be found across our service area at health fairs, county fairs, in schools and parks. We perform screenings, host youth education, and sponsor support groups. We’re proud of Kelly Walker, and numerous employees like her, who donate their passion and expertise to make a positive impact in our community!