Thursday, February 16th, 2017
Social service event stresses cooperation
By Ed Gebert
Mercer County Commissioner Greg Homan prepares to make a peanut butter and jelly. . .
CELINA - Officials at various Mercer County organizations are working to better coordinate services for those in need.
Mercer County Community Organizations Linking Together's No Wrong Door program aims to better connect entities so referrals can be made more easily and efficiently. Organization leaders met Wednesday to share what each group has to offer the community. The event combined elements of an exhibition with social time for participants to get to know one another.
"This is a valuable opportunity for all these agencies, employees and leaders to learn from one another so that they know what services are provided and to make sure no one falls between the cracks," said Mercer County Commissioner Greg Homan, who served as master of ceremonies.
The event aimed to improve communication and information among organizations.
"The idea behind No Wrong Door is so all of the community services and agencies understand what services are available to families here in Mercer County," Mercer County Head Start Director Amy Esser said. "When a family comes to your agency seeking services, even if you don't provide that particular service, you know a phone number and the name of a contact person for an agency who does provide that service."
The morning began with a demonstration by Homan on the importance of accurate communication. As an example, he followed instructions exactly to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with disastrous results.
Afterward, several local service agencies gave brief presentations about their organizations. From there, attendees gathered around displays in the Celina First Church of God gym to exchange contact information and ask for more detailed explanations of available services.
"I've been kicking (this)around a long time," Mercer County Job and Family Services Director Angela Nickell said. "And I'm aware of so many services, but there's nothing like hearing it directly from the people."
Thirty agencies from throughout the county participated, with an estimated 70-80 attendees. Presentations were made by the county board of developmental disabilities, West Ohio Community Action Partnership, the department of job and family services, OUR Home, the health department, crime victim services, the Mercer County Civic Foundation and Mercer County Head Start.
Organizers asked for feedback from attendees to help decide if this event should be held again, and if so, which information is most needed in the community.
"I'm very excited. This is the first time this has been attempted here in this county," Esser said.
"I think it's really valuable to get to know the different agencies and the services they provide," Homan said.