Adventist Community Services was one of 70 national member organizations that participated in the annual National VOAD Conference held from May 2-5, 2022, at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. The theme for this year was “Empowering Resiliency”. Despite having not met in person since 2019, the 2022 Conference was well attended with over 700 people attendees, including around 350 first-time attendees. ACS leaders from the North Pacific Union Conference, and Texas, Georgia-Cumberland, Allegheny East, and Chesapeake conferences joined the NAD ACS team at the event. For some of us who were first-time attendees, the First Timer Orientation Session gave an insight on the VOAD Community and the role of the network within the disaster community.
The mission and purpose of National VOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) is to provide a forum where organizations can gather to collaborate and network, sharing knowledge and resources, to effectively assist communities affected by disaster. ACS is one of the few original founding members of National VOAD which was founded in 1970 when seven voluntary organizations convened together to discuss how to improve responses following Hurricane Camille in August 1969.
There were fifty exhibitors and sponsors. Besides ACS, the exhibit hall was filled with booth displays from several other faith-based disaster response and relief organizations such as FEMA, American Red Cross, Islamic Relief USA, Salvation Army, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Mennonite Disaster Services, Good360, and United Methodist Committee on Relief, and etc. We had ACS volunteers from the Chesapeake and Allegheny East conferences who helped us out by managing the ACS exhibit and educating people on our services.
In addition to the exhibit, the other highlights of the conference consisted of various plenary sessions, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities.
Click here to view more photos from the event.