Public agencies try to improve help locally

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 30, 2006


News Editor

RESERVE- Locals involved in human care services in St. John Parish gathered together this week at the San Francisco Plantation Sugar Mill Pavilion in an effort to create a common mission – to better serve the people of St. John Parish.

Under the direction of the United Way of St. John, St. John Inter Agency and the St. John Department of Economic Development, the working title of the daylong collaboration was ‘Let’s Get Cookin’Š A Recipe for Success!’

&#8220Our goal is to get all human care service organizations in the area together to come up with a way to better collaborate and have a common mission, not just individual groups,” said Cathy Holmes of the LSU Ag Center.

&#8220We want to improve the community by avoiding duplication by agencies and offer the maximum amount of service to the residents of St. John Parish,” said Dean Torres of the St. John United Way. &#8220Need for human care services such as mental health has risen due to Hurricane Katrina but what all people need to realize is that everyone is stressed, not just displaced residents in the area. We are all displaced after the storm.”

&#8220We are going to cook a gumbo today. We will put all our ideas and offerings in the pot and create a common goal and objective. The main ingredient of our gumbo is YOU!” said public relations person, Jan Herrington of Positive Results, Inc.

Some of the organizations and agencies in attendance were St. John Schools, American Red Cross, St. John Council on Aging, St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office, Associated Catholic Charities, LSU Ag Center, Kingsley House, River Parish Mental Health Center among several others.

&#8220This event will hopefully engage non-profits to come together and bring new, better services to St. John Parish. It is the only logical efficient way to provide services to St. John. We are here to find out where we are and where we need to be,” said Torres.