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A Reflection On My Time With The Team

By Rachael Volpe

As the Network Manager for NYServes Upstate, being part of AmericaServes has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. Over the last two years, I have been honored to be part of a team that is at the forefront of human service delivery. When NYServes Upstate launched back in October of 2016, we were rounding out the AmericaServes initiative as the fifth coordination center. Today, I look at how we are one of fourteen (and counting) and I am amazed at how far we have come.

While I love every aspect of my job, there is one facet that I truly value – connecting with other AmericServes Networks. The chance to put a face to a name, to share ideas, and to learn from one another is a rewarding and motivating experience. I recently visited with the NCServes Western Coordination Center – a fairly new network just coming up on their six month mark. What I thought would be an opportunity to share my wisdom, as a more seasoned Serves Network, caught me by surprise when the one who was learning was me.

Brandon, the NCServes Western Network Director and his team were gracious hosts, allowing me to dive into every aspect of how their coordination center operates. I was able to sit with care coordinators, Emily and Jessica, to learn about their day to day processes – what works well for them, what doesn’t, how they engage with clients and providers, and what keeps them striving to continually do better. It was apparent that the foundation of NCServes Western’s success is their passion to serve those who have served us. Every aspect of their work, from provider engagement to the direct service of a client is a team effort – they consistently look for ways to exceed and lean on each other to accomplish that mission.

On day two, I was able to participate in the preparation of their 6 month In Practice Review (IPR) Celebration. A defining moment for a Serves network, the IPR Celebration invites the community at large to come together and discuss what the network has accomplished to date and where they are looking to go in the future. Having participated in two IPR’s myself, I was able to assist Brandon and his team with troubleshooting blind spots, and explaining what to expect over the course of the day. Ushering nearly 60 individuals from the local community under one roof, the event was a success. Brandon and his team stood proudly before the attendees and presented NCServes Western’s achievements, even spotlighting a veteran who shared his personal journey through the network and also recognizing a participating provider with the Trailblazer Award.

The IPR also brought out internal support, as IVMF was well represented with Jim McDonough, Managing Director, Ilario Pantano, Senior Director, and Lisa Murray, Program Manager. True visionaries for the work, the IVMF team have lead the charge to change the way veterans and military families connect with their local communities, and it has been a pleasure to work alongside them. I was also able to reconnect with Dr. Nicole French, from NCServes Metrolina. She and I were able to catch up on our networks and Dr. French was kind enough to share intake assessments that her care coordinators developed – a welcomed tool by my team, as we look to streamline our abilities in serving our clients.

I have returned from my visit more proud and empowered than ever.

To my AmericaServes Teams – thank you for your support and hard work in serving our veterans and military families.

To IVMF – thank you for allowing me to be part of the work and for being pioneers with such vision. I am proud to be part of the AmericaServes family and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish next.

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