North Brevard Coalition of Human Services Matches Community Organizations With People in Need

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On Monday, April 2, 2012 - 22:36
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Since 1994, the North Brevard Coalition of Human Services has been working to match people in need with community organizations that can help them. Communication between the various groups, through the coalition, also helps streamline the process of pro­viding aid in a multitude of areas. “Our mission, in a nutshell, is to connect business and social service providers to better leverage the resources we have,” says Robynne Hester, chairwoman of the coalition. Hester, a Brevard County native who returned home after working in the Washington, D.C., area, was also social services director for the city of Titusville for a dozen years until 2007. She has chaired the coalition for five years. “We found there was a group of individuals serving the same clients,” Hester says. “In our social services arena, some organizations only get funding for specific items. One may be for wheelchairs; another may be for baby items. “But Jane Doe is a client who has a need in each of those areas,” she continues. “We got to talking in 1994 and said, ‘let’s create a network of organizations, come together once a month and look at what we provide and how we can do a better job building a relationship with each other for Jane Doe, who may not be able to run from organization to organization.’ ” When the coalition was formed, just a handful of organizations were involved. Today, there are 90, ranging from the Titusville Police Athletic League and the Department of Children and Families to the Literary Alliance and the Salvation Army. In 2008, the coalition is completing an analysis to determine what gaps in services exist in the community and how to bridge them. “The most rewarding thing for me is [remembering that] I once was part of a situation where I needed help,” Hester says. “I was able to move from needing help to understanding what help was out there. Now, I’m able to share that information with others.”