By Geri Groberg
The integrity of any information and referral system is the accuracy and appropriateness of the resources provided. At United Way 2-1-1, we are determined to be THE place to go to whenever someone needs help or information about available services in our state. Some of our callers will be randomly asked if they are willing to participate in a quality assurance survey. We truly appreciate the opportunity to hear feedback from our callers, to know that the referrals we are providing were helpful, and to be able to address any problems that may have occurred.
But the best part of these follow-up calls is learning...the rest of the story. Did you know that most information specialists say the hardest part of the job is not knowing if things turned out okay? The information specialists at 2-1-1 are genuinely concerned about the people in our community. Every day, we search for ways to help people, whether it’s a referral to an agency that can help with financial assistance, to a food pantry, or how to contact their local state representative. Many times, we talk to people who are having a really rough time and their stories can be hard to hear. We do our best, hoping that everything will be fine. Now, during our follow-up calls, we are privileged to know that many of the people we talk to were able to receive the help needed to turn their situation around.
One of our callers was looking for information on behalf of her adult son. He had lost his job and was becoming depressed and feeling hopeless after months of job searching without success. The information specialist was able to connect this caller to many resources, including sites for job finding assistance, support groups, and a community clinic to address his depression. On a follow-up call, we learned that the son had signed up for a job training program and had begun counseling to address the depression. The woman said “211 is a lifesaver!”
It doesn’t get any better than that.