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Evaluation of the Maine Aging - page 36 / 51





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participants and increased sensitivity to the sense of confusion people may have when they are looking for information or services at a time of need. Critical and informal pathways to long term supports were identified and seen as "connecting points" for the consumer.

Coalition members repeatedly cited the benefits of the increased communication among community groups and the cross-training activities of the coalition. All coalitions supported and promoted information sharing by participants and guest speakers that fostered increased knowledge of community resources. Examples of these activities and member's report of their value are highlighted below.

The cross-coalition exchange at the retreat in Orono was very valuable and helpful to the coalition leaders and project management.

Coalition members are very familiar with their own programs and services and benefit from the sharing time designated at each meeting.

Coalition members are bombarded with information, and benefit from repeated presentations or opportunities to discuss a topic.

"Being a part of the Bath-Brunswick ADRC has been an extremely valuable experience and one that has enabled us to more fully understand the depth and breadth of services that are available to the elderly and disabled in our communities."

Franklin Resource Network coalition members made special note of the benefit of their work with John L. McKnight in 2004. Specifically, they cite the value of learning more about the concept of "connectors" and their role in community outreach. As presented by McKnight5, "connectors" are people in the community who naturally have contact with the target population and may be an informal source of needed information. As a result, coalition members report effort devoted to providing resource materials to community connectors (beauticians, barbers, clergy, police, and libraries) to keep them informed about community resources.

From the perspective of coalition survey respondents in all three communities, these and other coalition activities have increased members' awareness of available resources. As noted in Table 5: Extent of Increased Awareness, all respondents to the coalition member survey report at least some increase in their awareness of community services. The

Director of Community Studies and Co-Director of the ABCD Institute at Northwestern University.

30Muskie School of Public Service

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