Providing a Helping Hand - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/02/05-Nacogdoches

Providing a Helping Hand

by Donna McCollum

Everyday East Texans rely on service agencies for help. Often there are so many problems that one agency can't possibly begin to solve them. Thanks to a new interagency coalition in Nacogdoches health providers are working together to better serve their clients.

Approximately 50 service providers from about 20 different agencies held their first coalition meeting Wednesday. They were there to collaborate. The Nacogdoches Interagency Coalition is about seizing opportunities to make your community a better place to live.

Coalition Chair, Donna Oliver says, "It definitely provides a greater community awareness of what the resources are out there. A better willingness to work together rather than to get in their own corner."

Throughout the room agency representatives discuss ways of providing care to mutual clients. The short conversations with one another may make a difference in someone's life.

East Texas Community Health Center Director Robin Moore knows, "We're so caught up in what we're doing in our own entity that it's hard sometimes to catch those other people. This is a wonderful opportunity to that."

This is a direct result of last November's Future Search. The state initiative encourages interaction.

The coalition is directed to health related agencies, but welcomes input from anyone who can be of help. Librarian Lil Melton was there to share useful information to any non profit agency. "I want to let you know that the library has a grant writing data base."

The benefits to interagency coalitions are many, but only the members can make it work. Godtel's Michael Silva is hopeful. "Its just a matter of being able to keep this group together. This has been tried in the past and wasn't successful, so hopefully the leadership in this can maintain it."

State agencies are being forced to come together. Out of necessity other non profits are finding that help from one another is essential.

Cities with similar coalitions have had significant success. The collaboration in Mount Pleasant is leading to a new wellness center and in Henderson there's a good possibility a state health department will open in September.

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