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211info Reaches New Audiences Throughout Oregon

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Submitted by Laura Kuperstein, 211info

I have just completed eight trainings funded by NN/LM entitled “Oregon 211 Outreach Project.” The purpose of the project was to provide community-based trainings to health and human service professionals in rural areas of Oregon on the services of 211info, our efforts to create a 2-1-1 statewide system, and NLM resources for health and safety. The trainings went well and I received very positive feedback through post-surveys.

Here are a few tips I feel made this project a success:

  • I familiarized myself with local resources before each training. I felt that it was important to have some basic knowledge of each community. I also understood that professionals in rural areas are likely to know the resources in their immediate area. Instead of talking about the obvious, I gave other reasons to use our service including the fact that we have resources outside of their area, we’re an anonymous call, we can help alleviate some of their work, etc.
  • I found it best to work with a local organization to find a location and to get the word out. I contacted United Ways, community action agencies, hospitals, Commissions on Children and Families, etc. until I found interested parties. Promotion was done through their email lists.
  • I made a decision early on to use screen shots to demonstrate web sites. From my experience, it is too difficult to depend on internet access in varying facilities and in rural areas. In my opinion, professionals are very interested in learning about reliable web sites, but don’t need instruction on how to navigate them.
  • I was mindful of people’s time. A number of my trainings were over the lunch hour and I encouraged people to bring their lunch. I provided water and snacks.
  • Visuals are an important tool, and I had the opportunity to use a 2-minute film clip that we produced for our agency. I started off each training showing this film. It was extremely useful and gave attendees an opportunity to see how our Call Center works. You can view the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLrxpfd7ddw.

It’s been a pleasure having this opportunity to meet with professionals around the state and to share information that I believe will aid them in the day-to-day work. New relationships were created that will ultimately be of benefit to us in our effort to create a statewide 2-1-1 system.

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