Service integration: Community collaboration outreach expands

February, 2018 Posted in Community, News, Other, People

Michael 2 sheetsBy Mary Owen

Help for those in the Santiam Canyon is growing through a unique outreach:
Service Integration Teams.

“One of the biggest challenges for our smaller communities is being able to find a simple way to respond to needs of individuals, families and organizations with resources that can make a positive impact,” said Allison McKenzie, executive director of GROW-EDC. “By getting so many agency players in the room at one time – or connected by e-mail – the flow of information is much more effective, the collective brain power available to solve a problem is immense and far-reaching, and the response time is significantly shorter than it is when agencies try to do this all by themselves.

“This is a true collaboration and is already making a difference in the lives of people who need help, especially with so many generous individuals and businesses getting involved in the process,” McKenzie added.

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 2.27.16 PMService Integration connects those in need to resources. The program facilitates collaboration among community partners to coordinate services and information.

SI also assists financially with community development; health, including prescriptions and medical co-pays; classes; tuition, fees, and literacy programs; extra-curricular fees, materials, clothing or shoes to participate in activities; and youth development, leadership/learning opportunities.

The area has two Service Integration teams: North Santiam and Santiam Canyon. Started in September 2017, the North Santiam SIT covers the North Santiam School District area (Lyons, Mehama, Stayton, Sublimity) and has been operating successfully with about 40 members representing 30-33 agencies, businesses and churches.

The Santiam Canyon SIT, covering the Santiam Canyon School District area (Gates, Idanha, Detroit, Mill City), held its first meeting on Jan. 23, and kicked off with 50 people attending, representing 38 community groups. Plans are to expand Service Integration in the spring to encompass the Cascade School District.

The concept advances the work of the original Canyon Collaborative that was Stayton City Councilor Priscilla Glidewell’s brainchild. The collaborative’s leadership team  included Julie Hilty of Family Building Blocks, Pastor Shawn Hazel of Stayton’s Calvary Lutheran Church and others, according to McKenzie.

“Some recent examples demonstrate the generosity of the community, collaboration and leveraging of resources to meet the needs of individuals and families – what I call SIT in action,” said Melissa Baurer, Service Integration/Community Liaison Coordinator, Santiam Hospital, who acts as a link between those in need and SIT community participants.

Last December, a community member contacted Baurer about a struggling Stayton family. The six year old daughter had been diagnosed with cancer in October and with the chemo, radiation, surgery, parents’ time off work and transportation needs, paying bills became a challenge.

“The Salvation Army, KROC Center provided a day at the center for friends and close family,” Baurer said. “They also paid for their water bill. Sarah, a team member with Immaculate Conception, went shopping for the boy and girl for Christmas. Another SIT member provided and delivered a Christmas tree. The Santiam Hospital CAN Cancer program paid for the $250 gas card to help with transportation costs to the doctor.

“Polly with Santiam Senior Center called her friend and asked her to make hats for the little girl as her hair began to fall out,” she continued. “Foothills Church was preparing and delivering meals to the family and continues to help with household tasks. Boxdrop Salem and Bryan, the owner, discounted a memory foam mattress and pink cover that would help the little girl with her night sweats. SIT funds were used to pay for the mattress. And a United Way employee purchased a new washer and dryer set for the family.”

Baurer says SIT members call every day to ask about the family. One phone call from the dad she will never forget, she said.

“A lot of people I have spoken to say they have people who can help or they have connections, but you actually do,” he told Baurer. “You know the job and you know how to get results. Your team keeps pulling miracle after miracle out of their hat. We are forever grateful!”

Stories like that touch the hearts of the participants, and as SIT member Sara Owens told Baurer, when it comes to helping, “The sky is the limit.”

“People can get involved by attending a meeting,” Baurer said. “This is the best way to see what SIT is all about, meet others in the community, and explore how they can collaborate with others to meet the needs of the community.”
North Santiam SIT meets the second Thursday of each month at the Santiam Center. Santiam Canyon SIT meetings are the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Gates Fire Hall. Cascade SIT meetings will begin in the spring, meeting time and location to be arranged.
Santiam Hospital provided the initial funding both the North Santiam and Santiam teams. Willamette Valley Community Health will sponsor $15,000 for the Santiam Service Integration
in 2018.

For more information, visit the Santiam Service Integration Facebook page.

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