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Step Ahead, Human Services merge for better assistance

For many years, the Harrison County Step Ahead Council met monthly to address the unmet needs of families and children. Information on services was shared and plans were made on how to address issues such as affordable housing or increasing the number of licensed day-care facilities.
The Harrison County Human Services Council was also meeting monthly but with a focus on the needs of senior citizens, such as housing, health care and hot meals. With many overlapping issues and a growing number of seniors raising their grandchildren, the two groups have decided a merger could better serve the community and their busy schedules.
The combined group, now calling themselves the Human Services Planning Council of Harrison County, will begin meeting at noon on the third Thursday of each month in the Harrison County Community Foundation conference room in Corydon. Attendees are invited to bring their lunch and be prepared to learn or share what’s happening in the human services world.
‘We’ll start promptly at noon each month and adjourn at 1:30,’ said spokesperson Steve Gilliland. ‘We are all busy people and need to get back to our jobs.’
The meeting format adopted by the group begins with brief introductions followed by a 20- to 30-minute presentation to inform the group on a pertinent topic.
‘We might hear about a new domestic violence program or a grant opportunity that could fill a need in the community,’ said Jan Sherrell, community coordinator for Metro United Way. ‘The Meth Coalition, Senior Angel Tree and the Housing Task Force all had their roots in one of these groups. It is also a great place to meet and share with other service providers.’
Who should attend?
‘Anyone who wants to share a need or learn about possible solutions for their clients, students or constituents,’ said Shirley Raymond, executive director of Harrison County Community Services. ‘Anyone who believes that vulnerable people can benefit from a collective voice should join us.’
Topics addressed could be useful to human service providers, educators, law enforcement or even elected officials. The needs assessment work and the longer term planning developed case management models for school based services that have been replicated in other states.
‘This is definitely time well spent,’ said Gilliland. ‘Having so many providers in one room helping to keep me up to date in just 90 minutes a month is fantastic. The exchange of information and networking is invaluable.’ For more information on the planning council meetings, call Raymond at 738-8143 or Gilliland at 738-6668.