Community says “YES” to WrapAround

Winter 2018 < BACK Community says “YES” to WrapAround

At a recent planning event, WrapAround participants and supporters affirmed the value and effectiveness of the WrapAround service.

Shalem’s WrapAround staff and volunteers recently hosted a strategic planning event called Why WrapAround? to explore the value and future of the initiative. Those who participated in our Why WrapAround? event and those who responded to a WrapAround survey were asked whether WrapAround is doing what it intends to do, and the response was a resounding, “Yes.”

Yes, WrapAround is creating community, one family at a time. Yes, continue your journey in 2018.

In 2015, WrapAround’s funding from the Partnering to End Child Poverty–Canadian programs, through World Vision ended. From 2015 to the present, our volunteer network included a small Community Mobilization/Leadership Team that has representatives in Crown Point, Rolston, Jamesville, GALA, Dundas, Ancaster and Riverdale areas of the Greater Hamilton Area. We served approximately 30 families per year, working to create a network of family and friends around them whenever possible.

So Why Yes, to WrapAround in Hamilton?
Participants in the WrapAround event in October 2017 confirmed that WrapAround provides supportive care. There was positive feedback about how it builds social networks and facilitates resources. Participants agreed that it engages the community and cultivates stronger bonds between people and their community.

During this strategic planning event, participants also discussed what WrapAround needs in order to continue this important work. The main needs were identified as greater awareness with increased funding, and additional employees and volunteers to address community referrals.

What will happen in 2018?
Through the strategic process, plans were developed to offer WrapAround Training throughout the city of Hamilton, starting with faith communities. We plan to evolve to community neighbourhoods with the help of our “Go To” volunteers. We identified the need to develop a “like-minded” Advisory Group to champion the work, as well as to determine additional funding sources with the assistance of Shalem.

WrapAround’s Successes and Challenges
In addition to the Why WrapAround? event, a survey was conducted of WrapAround participants to get feedback about their experiences with the service. The results showed that of those who participated, 89% rated their experience highly.

Christina and Alexandra, our summer students who conducted the survey, found that those who participated concurred with the findings of a previously published WorldVision report. This report explored whether Shalem could provide an effective WrapAround service using a volunteer-driven initiative after it was moved out of a non-profit government funded organization using paid staff to offer the service.

In 2014, Canadian WrapAround: A Case Study of A Volunteer Driven, Community Based Approach for Families, Children, and Youth with Complex Needs in Hamilton, Ontario was published in the Child & Youth Care Practice Journal, 27(4). Results from the report can be found below:

Successes and Challenges of WrapAround

Successes:

  • Demonstrated significant increases in adult resilience and in aspects of overall family functioning as measured by the social determinants of health
  • Families reported progress in achieving their goals and expressed satisfaction with the support provided through the WrapAround program
  • Volunteer facilitators are implementing the WrapAround process to a high degree of fidelity (or measured success)
  • Main advantage of involving fewer paid staff and more volunteers in the WrapAround process is that volunteers do not need to “un-learn” the deficit-based social services model before engaging with children, youth, and their families

Challenges:

  • Goal of owning and franchising the WrapAround process led to a split between groups and a loss of credibility for WrapAround Hamilton. Volunteers and staff have successfully regained credibility, but this has taken some time → Resulted in the view of WrapAround Hamilton that ownership of the process through a franchise is counterproductive to the WrapAround process and this process should be owned and driven by the entire community
  • Sustaining the WrapAround initiative with only one full time staff member is challenging → Need for good volunteer recruitment strategies, where the volunteers are able to make a long-term commitment in order to appropriately serve the youth and families that they support
  • Issues of funding → Any volunteer-driven initiative requires at least one full time staff member who serves as the coordinator and maintaining funding for this staff member has been a challenge and obtaining this funding is contingent upon promoting WrapAround’s success with funders

Based on the positive results of the survey, the “yes” from participants of Why WrapAround?, and the successes highlighted in the World Vision report, WrapAround is excited to continue its services in Hamilton. Check out this video to hear further about why we are so convinced that WrapAround is the right service for so many.

We also recognize the challenges WrapAround faces in order to continue operating in the Hamilton area, and we welcome the support of Shalem’s extended community to meet these needs and overcome the challenges. To learn more about WrapAround Hamilton, check out their website.

We welcome donations to our work, and we would love to have the support of new volunteers. If you are interested in helping out with WrapAround, you can go to Shalem’s website, or contact Mary at our office at 905-528-0353.

Elske de Visch Eybergen is Shalem’s Director of WrapAround Services.

 

 

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