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One Hub Connects You to All of Rising Ground

Often, people we support in one program could also benefit from other services provided by Rising Ground or within the community. But staff are not always fully aware of all the myriad of resources available within Rising Ground’s 55 programs and its community partners. A systematic way was needed to connect people supported to services that could help them address whatever challenges they face.

One year ago, with funding from the Booth Ferris Foundation, we opened the Central Access & Referral Department. We’re the first human services organization in New York City with a centralized hub to match those we support with the many programs across our multi-faceted organization. Our early success may make it a model for others to follow.

One example illustrates how valuable this new department is. Counselors at our Mother & Child program wanted to help its young mothers to work through the trauma of intimate partner abuse. The counselors asked the Access & Referral Department to refer them to an expert.

“STEPS to End Family Violence is a national leader in gender-based violence-related healing and prevention services, and it has become part of Rising Ground through our 2018 partnership with Edwin Gould,” explains Dishon Ahing, Director of Access & Referral. “Mother & Child had not heard about STEPS. So, we connected the two programs and STEPS quickly arranged to give intimate partner violence and healthy relationship workshops at Mother & Child.”

Mr. Ahing emphasizes that rarely does an outside agency respond so quickly to such a request. “Referring programs to other Rising Ground programs expedites service delivery,” he says. “There’s already a connection, which makes it easier to work together.”

One of the department’s most important jobs is to handle intake for several programs so that newly placed people can benefit from additional resources. In the last six months, Mr. Ahing says they have placed 58 youth through its intake process. Over the same period, the department made 407 referrals to supported families, of which 300 received services.

“Dishon and his team are making connections throughout the organization that have meaningful impact on the lives of the people we support,” says Belinda M. Conway, Rising Ground Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, who oversees the department.

“We’re providing hope and opportunity to children, individuals, and families every day,” says Mr. Ahing. “It’s very satisfying work.”