Mission Moments – The Power of the Referral
There were many goals in opening the Northwest family Service Center, one of them being partnering with our community in order to help families in a more efficient and effective manner. The ability to connect families with agencies and programs that will benefit them is a great asset to our community. CEAP as an agency have always put great emphasis on and prided ourselves on our ability to gain the trust of our participants to let us guide them to resources that may make their lives a little bit easier.
Families that are seeking assistance from CEAP are usually struggling with an array of challenges. With our agency being in a space that encourages our building partners and clients alike to share information and connect our programs together so families do not have to repeat their story over and over. When we as an agency were in our own space the likelihood of a warm hand connection was very unlikely to occur.
In my experience, a person that needs help can be given so much information but limited guidance on what to do with that information, this process can be overwhelming. At CEAP, we are given the opportunity to help our participants by providing a face-to-face introduction with our partners. Trust can be a hard thing to gain from our families that have been living in survival mode, because of this lack of trust it can be difficult to connect them to the programs available unless we can walk across the hall and introduce them. A warm hand off makes a world of difference in the follow-through for the family.
The reason I am explaining the importance of our partnerships is because this week I was approached by an Osseo School District Enrollment Center employee, with her was a mother and her son. The staff member asked if I could speak to her about her situation and possibly help her in some way.
She was a single mom of two boys her youngest son has the challenge of autism. The mom expressed that her son has a hard time communicating. She then revealed that her son had been abused by a childcare provider which caused her to work far less than she is used to. This has created a financial hardship for the family and they are now facing the threat of eviction.
This family is in crisis and being in this space I am able to refer her to the Parent Support Outreach Program offered through Hennepin County. As our conversation continued she let me know that she had just gotten out of an abusive relationship. I then offered her the opportunity to talk to an advocate with Corner Stone. At first she was hesitant to take the information but after talking about having a support system available for tough times can be extremely beneficial. She didn’t immediately talk to Corner Stone but she did give me permission to share her contact information with them, they will contact her tomorrow.
I cannot express how excited it makes me to know that we as an agency get the opportunity to work closely together and better serve our community.
Program Manager, Financial Assistance