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Evaluation of the Maine Aging - page 39 / 51





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All three coalitions provided customer service training to improve the responsiveness of those who assist consumers in obtaining the information they need. Customer service training was well-received and attracted large groups in each region. Coalition members viewed these and other coalition training and development opportunities as having an impact on the way they respond to clients. Among coalition member survey respondents, 90% report that participation in the coalition has changed the way their organization responds to requests for information, and nearly 30% report the impact of the coalition on their organization as being "considerable" or "great extent." Only 10% of coalition survey respondents report that coalition participation has not changed their response to clients.

Coordination and Collaboration to Improve Long Term Supports

Responsiveness to needs in the community is another important dimension of the work of the ADRC coalitions. Development through coordination and collaboration among members is evident in programs promoted by the coalition.

An example of coordination of efforts can be seen in the Franklin Resources Network work on transportation. Members report that the coalition was instrumental in including transportation as a problem on their communities' agenda and coalition members played an important role in establishing and publicizing the 5-day a week paratransit service in Farmington and Wilton.

Recognition of the isolation that many seniors feel and their need for a "helping hand" led to collaborative development, initial funding, and continued support for the Greater Bath Elder Outreach Network. Through this initiative, elders are matched with trained volunteers who provide them with companionship and minor assistance. Local evaluation of the initiative indicates that program participants report being more optimistic, healthier, and more engaged in their lives since joining the program. The trust established between elders and their visitors also enables greater follow through on referrals to needed services. The program has been such a success that it is being expanded into neighboring communities.

Muskie School of Public Service33

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