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Reflections on the Practice from AmericaServes Newest Program Manager

By: Lyndsey M. Hodkinson, Program Manager, Institute for Veterans and Military Families

Building Relationships: Two Years at the IVMF and 90 Days in the Practice

March 1st celebrated my two year anniversary at the Institute and almost 90 days working inside the Community of Practice. It’s been a whirlwind two years and even more so 90 days. Thinking about what’s made me successful in my role and contributed to the success of all the programs at IVMF there’s a common thread of relationships – creating, developing, nurturing, and sustaining relationships.

After watching AmericaServes from the sideline and getting to sub in from time to time for different events or projects, I was pulled off the bench and jumped in feet first to work with the AmericaServes National Community of Practice. To become more familiar with networks and the relationships within each market, I spent the better part of February on the road and out of snowy Syracuse.

ABCCM

My first stop was in Asheville, NC visiting ABCCM and the NCServes-Western network with the Carolinas Regional Lead – Lisa Murray and Network Director, Brandon Wilson. I was inspired by the relationships that have been cultivated across partners within the community. We started by visiting the Pack Memorial Library to see the space for the Mental Health Roundtable that was occurring later that day and visiting at the kiosk, first of its kind, in the library for clients to self-refer into the network. From there, we went over to the local VA to look at locations where two kiosks would soon be placed. Building this relationship and having level of support with the local VA is significant for the community the NCServes-Western network. This relationship with the VA and placement of the kiosks is monumental as so many veterans come through the hospital and there’s a large opportunity for individuals to receive referrals through the network. My time in Western ended with a Mental Health Round Table back at the library that brought about 20 mental health providers together to discuss their participation, challenges, and best practices. It was motivating to see that everyone in the group contributed to meaningful, insightful conversation.

In Practice Review

The following week I went to our nation’s capital for a few days. In those 48 hours I participated in three events and was surrounded by over 350 individuals dedicated to the IVMF’s and AmericaServes’ mission. We started the week with the inaugural AmericaServes In-Practice Review at the Accenture digital studio. Co-led by Jim McDonough and Danny Cohanpour, witnessed by 60 people in the room and viewed by more than 300 attending 10 “watch parties” across AmericaServes communities, it was a moment in history for those of us doing this work. We discussed where the AmericaServes program is now, who it serves, and how and where it is going. We also released the 2018 AmericaServes Transparency Report to reinforce the impact being made on the lives of our nation’s military connected members and their families. Later that evening, we let our hair down, so to speak, at the Jones Day Law Firm for the IVMF Roll Call-D.C.. This event provided a great opportunity to build and expand many of our federal relationships that are incredibly important to AmericaServes and the IVMF. The next day was my favorite event. After resetting the room from the night before, overlooking the Capitol building, 50 folks filled the room again to include AmericaServes funders, key community partners, teams of backbone organizations, providers and their veteran/family clients. The event was structured around having a conversation with each interaction point in the AmericaServes network. During each of the three panels I was in awe of how transformative AmericaServes is in providing coordinated care to the nation’s military connected members and their families.

If the first two years is any indication how my time will be spent here at the IVMF and AmericaServes I can’t wait to see how we grow and evolve in our relationships and service delivery. The impact we are making across the nation is true and runs deep. I’m grateful to be a part of this organization and team.

If the first two years is any indication how my time will be spent here at the IVMF and AmericaServes I can’t wait to see how we grow and evolve in our relationships and service delivery. The impact we are making across the nation is true and runs deep. I’m grateful to be a part of this organization and team.

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