Reaching Diverse Populations

Recently I had the opportunity to partner with Community Coalition for Health, a faith based organization, to solicit feedback from the African American community on a health issue. The information garnered was going to be used to create a public health campaign for menthol cigarettes in the community.

Community Coalition for Health is deeply embedded in the African American community and has established trust that allowed the project have access to focus groups. The focus groups were also facilitated by Community Coalition for Health because they are a trusted entity and could solicit honest feedback.

Both Breakwater and Community Coalition for Health approached the project and presented the results with a health equity, trauma informed lens. The recommendations made for the public health campaign emphasized the diversity of the community, leveraged the strengths of the community and promoted grassroots involvement. This strategy will allow for community ownership which will result in better adoption of the public health campaign.

What is it your organization does again?

Telling your organization's story and explaining the worthiness of the work can be a daunting task.  Most of us that work in social services are so passionate and enmeshed in the work that we tend to answer the question with urgency, individual heartbreaking stories, and jargon.  However, research has found that these methods are not the most effective ways to connect others with the value of the work.  Reframing Human Services describes effective processes to use when talking about social services so others can see the value.  This method can be applied when apealing to funders, recruiting board members or polishing up your elevator speech.

There are workshops coming up in Austin to teach you how to use this method!  The workshops will be led by the Director of the National Human Services Assembly’s Reframing Initiative, Bridget Gavaghan, and are open to non-One Voice members for $30.  Go to the link below to register.



Opportunity for Joy

Today I wake up to the roaring thunder of the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas.  I have the privilege to present at the Texas Meals on Wheels 2018 Conference, on the topic of how to support persons after a disaster.  I am reminded of my recovery journey and the great joy it has brought to my life.

The association of joy to the disaster actually led to the loss of a friendship for me.  She too had experienced the same event and even was eight months pregnant with me.  It was incomprehensible for her to understand how such an event could be seen as "delightful".  The months and years after the disaster were not all delightful but my definition of joy rests in a different place.  Kay Warren said it best "Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things."

My hope is that I can spread this message of joy to others and one day it can reach my friend.



After a Disaster: How to Support Persons in Services and Staff

Join me for the Meal on Wheels conference next week in Galveston where I will present on how to support persons in services and staff after disasters.  I will go over the basics of the phases of disasters, trauma, how to recognize trauma and trauma-informed care.  I promise to make it fun and there might even be some squishy balls!

How do you go back to work after a traumatic event?

How do you go back to work after a traumatic event? Six years ago my husband texted me this picture while I was at work. He had found my wedding rings in the rubble of our completely destroyed home that we lost in a wildfire. This was almost two weeks after the fire so I had already physically returned to work, but my mind was on my loss, grief and safety. It is vital for businesses to be sensitive to the needs of employees who have experienced trauma so work can continue. Trauma Informed/Sensitive environments have been emerging in the healthcare field, schools and even the justice system with promising results. These principles can be adapted to businesses to support employees in the workplace environment. As persons return to work from large disasters such as hurricane Harvey, businesses need to consider what supports need to be in place for employees.  If you are ready to transform your agency to be supportive of your employees who are the core of your business, send me a message.  Take Care -