Volunteers of America VP earns national leadership award


Volunteers of America recently honored Rob Stedman, vice president of services for children and families for VOA Upstate New York, with its Leadership in Program Management Award. 

The Leadership Awards are presented to staff whose hard work, loyalty and dedication exemplify the highest ideals of the organization. Out of 32 VOA affiliates across the nation, two staff members were selected to receive this award.  

“I’m very fortunate to have such a tremendous staff that has made all of this possible,” Stedman said. “We’ve been able to adapt quickly and evolve during such a critical time. Being able to remove these barriers for students and their families is a huge testament to how essential the VOA is and the work being done every day. These services we are providing are crucial and without the VOA Children’s Center, many of these children would otherwise be left behind.” 

Rob Stedman.

Stedman leads services at the VOA Children's Center on Lake Avenue, which annually serves  children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 12 years with programs such as pre-kindergarten, Head Start and Early Head Start, child care, kindergarten readiness and Summer LEAP.  

“Rob's efforts over the past nine years has allowed our Children's Center to thrive,” said Lynn Sullivan, president and CEO at VOA Upstate New York. “This has been especially true during the pandemic. Rob has navigated the many difficulties brought upon by COVID. Despite adverse conditions, Rob led his team in establishing virtual programs, in-person child care and hybrid programs that resulted in our serving even more children in our community. For parents who relied on their children being in school in order to work or attend school themselves, this provided a safe haven for their children to learn and thrive.” 

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the Children’s Center has served 454 students through in-person, hybrid and virtual educational programs; provided full-day child care, pre-K, Head Start and school programs; shared links to more than 500 educational websites and resources; posted more than 947 educational videos for students learning at home; distributed more than 1,400 educational activity packets for children to work on from home; and deployed more than 200 iPads for families in need.