An Employee’s Take on Client Respect

In her own words, Valencia Donaldson, the substance abuse director for Volunteers of America Chesapeake’s Residential Program Center–shares how VOAC’s services are rooted in respect for every client.

“When respect connects with a higher power and the power of caring, the power of self-reliance is unleashed and admired. A sustaining influence of respect shall never be lost, but shall remain with a man or women forever.”

–Valencia Donaldson


In its simplest form, respect is given to people in order to demonstrate their ability to have intrinsic and unconditional moral worth and should always be treated as if there is nothing of greater value than they are.

This principle rests on the unique capability of giving.  Respect is the acceptance of people without judgement for their thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. It also includes acknowledging them, listening to them, being truthful with them, and accepting their individuality.  Respecting people in their lives whether they are in turmoil or in peace, supports them to become self-aware, capable of objective thoughts, the ability to reason and the ability to change.   These abilities that continue to define the meaning of respect are to give humanity an intrinsic dignity that must be admired above all other considerations. The principle of respect for persons affirms the primary importance of allowing individuals to exercise their moral right of self-determination. To violate their ability to be self-determining is to treat them as less than persons. In doing so we deprive them of their essential dignity.

Finally the inherent value of respect attributed to all persons have equal worth and should be treated equitably and in ways that we would want to be treated.  Like in the scriptures “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  Guided by our core services of Caring, Faith, Quality and Trust are all rooted in this basic requirement of unconditional respect.

As the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, elegantly song    R-E-S-P-E-C-T that is what love means to me… one of the core values of VOAC.


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