Representatives of more than twenty community-serving agencies in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties gathered to meet each other, discuss their services, enjoy lunch and listen to speakers from Community Legal Aid Services in an event sponsored by Catholic Charities Regional Agency on October 12.
“Five years ago, [we] wanted vendors that we would see at events to share with each other, so with Nancy Voitus’ support, we created Patchwork,” said Valerie Thomas from the Catholic Charities Regional Agency.
The event was an opportunity for professionals to “get to know each other and find out more about what the various agencies do, so that we know before we refer clients. We can call and know them by name. We are all connected,” added Thomas.
At the front of the gathering space was a blue and white quilt. Delmas Stubbs, mental health counselor at Veterans Administration, said that when the Patchwork Networking began, a quilt was a great visual representation: “We all wrote our [agency] names on the quilt” between squares with quotes about peace, hope, faith and love.
Sam Neral, who works with Homeless Outreach, represented the Help Network/211. She said it was a wonderful way “to make personal connections and to put faces with names” as participants could visit each exhibit table, pick up information and talk with staffers.
Participants enjoyed learning more about other agencies in the area. A representative with Mahoning County Children’s Services, commented “I even learned of a few new ones!”
Rachel Nader, advocacy attorney with Community Legal Aid Services spoke on the need for more safe and affordable housing in our area. Dana Goldstein, staff attorney, offered tips to help clients—especially senior citizens—avoid telephone scams.
Crystal Wells of Catholic Charities Regional Agency reminded us of the importance of “knowing where we can refer clients, and to know they will be assisted.”
For more information on Catholic Charities Regional Agency, visit the website.