In 2013, CoLAB proudly partnered with Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation (LOHF) to assess the mental and behavioral health challenges of Lancaster County youth. coLAB conducted surveys, created focus groups, and administered surveys. A major theme emerged: health services are available but families have difficulty accessing them. “Services are like tax breaks. They exist if you know how to find them,” said LOHF Executive Director, Anna Kennedy. “It was a full-time job for parents to coordinate health services for their children We heard them loud and clear.” After close evaluation of these initial results, coLAB facilitated a board retreat to help the organization assimilate the nearly 50-page report and review their mission, vision and goals. Imperative to the operational success of the organization, LOHF needed to align grant-making efforts under one umbrella improving behavioral health of children and increasing the functional capacity of health care providers. In partnership with Advanced Metrics, a leading healthcare software developer, coLAB launched a pilot program to link primary care providers with behavioral health specialists. This pilot is a collaborative effort that will result in a web-based and mobile-compatible resource center focused on bolstering information on youth behavioral health. “In Lancaster County, mental health needs affect 26% of the population,” said Kennedy. “And the first symptoms typically occur in pre-adolescents. We need to make it easy. We can help children do better in school and be healthier.” The pilot will be tested in five healthcare practices and three school districts. Future phases include roll-outs for educators, parents and families. “This is a project that requires a ton of innovation and creativity,” said Steve Herr of Advanced Metrics. “Kate’s ability to keep everyone grounded, organized and focused is critical to the successful implementation of the NavWell system.” For additional information, please visit NavWell Pathways to Wellbeing.
At coLAB, we’re passionate about getting the right people in the room to solve our community’s challenges. So starting the Nonprofit Solution Exchange to connect Lancaster’s nonprofit leaders was a natural fit. We launched the Nonprofit Solution Exchange (NSE) because we knew that by getting diverse leaders in a room, we could use our collective influence to promote community change. NSE is a go-to resource for public policy input, a voice defining the significant value of Community Benefit Organizations and a network of leaders sharing knowledge and supporting each other in individual and organizational excellence. “For me, the initial benefit was to connect with other nonprofit chief executives for support and guidance in the various aspects of nonprofit management,” said Cheryl Heister, executive director of The Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon. “The personal connection is important and having a network of peers who I can contact with questions and advice is invaluable.” “As my involvement in the Exchange grew, I saw the potential to have real impact in our community. Our collective voice has more power. Each member brings a network of partners and assets that we can contribute to our sector.” Join us in our work of advocating, connecting, educating and supporting. The Nonprofit Solution Exchange meets on the third Thursday of each month at 8:30 AM and is managed by coLAB. Membership dues are $250/year for an organization, and include a 65% discount on PANO membership and products, 20% discount on Leadership Lancaster and 20% discount on Nonprofit Resource Network classes. For more information and to apply, click here.