Connecting individuals and families with services

Staff Report
Assistant Secretary Mark Thomas Office of Citizens Developmental Disabilities.

The Rural / Urban Health Coalition - a group of 14 non-profit organizations from New Orleans and the River Parishes that work in the areas of education, recreation, community enhancement and health services - recently sponsored an event in Donaldsonville.

The event was centered around providing a forum that addressed issues focused on the delivery of services aimed at individuals and families dealing with developmental disabilities and other associated issues.

Hosted by Dwayne Bailey Director of the Rural / Urban Health Coalition, the event was held on Aug. 23 at Faith Christian Center, Donaldsonville.

"Having worked within the public health industry for many years, I know how easy it can be for individuals and families to fall through the gaps in the system," Bailey said. "I wanted to gather individuals and families in need and place them in an environment with no cultural or societal pressures. Then, provide those in attendance with impactful information and tangible resources that would get them the much needed services for themselves or their loved ones."

The guest speaker for the event was Assistant Secretary Mark Thomas Office of Citizens Developmental Disabilities.

"It is very seldom, that you can get the number one person in charge of all the State of Louisiana’s services to attend a local event." Bailey said. "But, we were fortunate to make the connection with Office of Developmental Disabilities out of concern and shared vocation for the individuals both organizations serve."

Assistant Secretary Thomas and staff engaged each person in attendance on a personal level.

"The event was impactful in that it provided clarity concerning what services that are provided and contact with the service provider the State of Louisiana Office of Citizens Developmental Disabilities," Bailey said.

The participants, who came from Donaldsonville, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and surrounding River Parishes, left the event with the keys that will open doors to healing and growth for individuals and families dealing with the complex issues surrounding developmental disabilities.