Three days after the first-ever Early Intervention and Prevention (EIP) Provider Fair, the dust has settled and the (preliminary) evaluation results are in. To MCCOY staff members’ great delight, our first effort to facilitate “speed-dating” for local youth-serving agencies was a success.
What exactly do we mean by “speed-dating” for service providers? Well, we looked at how conferences and other gatherings of social services professionals usually work, with folks roaming from table to table picking up brochures but rarely interacting more deeply, and we saw a great opportunity to improve on this. By creating a process in which each attendee spends five minutes at each exhibiting agency’s table, hearing a short presentation and asking questions about its services, we hoped to make participation in our event more intentional and supportive of new partnerships. We believe (and research suggests) that increasing collaboration among providers will result in children, families and the community being served more effectively and efficiently.
And it looks like our gamble is paying off! Out of approximately 50 EIP Provider Fair attendees who completed evaluation forms at the event:
- 98 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they had met with early intervention and prevention service providers of which they were not previously aware
- 96 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they knew how to collaborate with organizations they had met that day
- 98 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they would follow up with at least one organization they had met that day to explore new opportunities to partner and collaborate
These numbers are amazing, far beyond our highest hopes. We will do everything we can to capitalize on this momentum and continue fostering new collaborations among both old and new friends in the social services and youth development fields. Our children and families need us all to work together to build a foundation for their success.