International Women's Day
Today is International Women's Day, a day to honor and celebrate all of the brave, intelligent, courageous, and amazing women in our lives! One of our co-founders, Maud Ballington Booth, was an extremely remarkable person, and today we celebrate her lasting legacy.
Maud Ballington Booth was born Maud Elizabeth Charlesworth on September 13, 1865 in Limpsfield, England. When she was four years old, her family moved to London, where both of her parents worked in social issues. This led to Maud's interest for social welfare and social service.
In 1882, Maud began a friendship with Catherine Booth, with whom she organized a branch of the Salvation Army in Paris. The next year, the pair moved on to Geneva, Switzerland. They didn't stay long, however, because they were both shoved out of the country after being interrogated by police. Maud stayed with the Booth family after returning to London, working primarily in the poor neighborhoods of London.
In 1886, against her father's wishes, Maud married the second son of the founder of the Salvation Army, Ballington Booth. She then changed her name to Maud Ballington Booth.
In 1887, she was put in charge of the Salvation Army forces in the US, along with her husband. Almost ten years later, though, Maud and Ballington decided to leave the Salvation Army after a dispute with Ballington's father over the vision and direction of the organization. So in 1896, Maud and Ballington founded Volunteers of America, with the vision in mind to transform the lives of America's most vulnerable citizens.
They envisioned a movement dedicated to “reaching and uplifting” the American people. On behalf of the organization, the Booths pledged to “go wherever we are needed, and do whatever comes to hand.” That declaration continues to guide Volunteers of America’s outreach efforts today.
Since then, for the last 122 years, Maud Booth's legacy has been infused in everything we do. Her compassion for those in need and strong work ethic still guide us to this day. We are grateful for the foundation she laid for us and will continue to help our most vulnerable neighbors transform their lives into vibrant ones.
Thank you, Maud, and all of the amazing women over the last 122 years that have shaped Volunteers of America!