BATESVILLE — The six employees at Batesville-based One Community One Family improve social and emotional outcomes for children and families by striving to continually better southeastern Indiana services and systems. Much of this work is achieved through initiatives and projects with a variety of partners, points out executive director Brenda (Konradi) Spade.

“We just worked with One Voice” to apply for a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant, she recalls at her Batesville Area Resource Center office. Based in Dearborn County, the community organization run by people in recovery serves multiple counties. Spade knew getting a Building Communities of Recovery grant was a long shot as just three were going to be awarded across the U.S. But the grant writer was successful, gaining $200,000 annually for three years for One Voice to provide advocacy and support. OCOF is the fiscal agency for the grant.

One Community One Family’s employees – Spade plus office manager Becky Nobbe, family advocacy manager Kathy Riley, early childhood manager Jodi Alexander, early childhood coordinator Robin Kichler and Youth MOVE Southeast Indiana parent advocate Mary Jo Lee – serve six counties: Decatur, Franklin, Ripley, Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland. The nonprofit also contracts with a variety of individuals.

Grants support its two early childhood initiatives.

One Community One Family was awarded $2.1 million by the Indiana State Department of Health in December 2016 for Safety PIN (Protecting Indiana’s Newborns). The money is being used over four years to reduce infant mortality by aiding pregnant women and new parents referred to the organization by the Indiana Department of Child Services and area physicians.

She reports, “We’re doing parent education” so they learn how to raise healthy children. One partner in the effort, Choices Coordinated Care Solutions, provides community-based prenatal care coordination, connecting pregnant women to resources. “It might be getting them to treatment. We subcontract with them.”

Over the grant’s first two years, through Dec. 31, 2018, OCOF has involved many parents: Incredible Years Parenting Program, 90; Parent Cafes, 634; and prenatal care coordination, 88, according to Spade.

Is the mortality rate decreasing in southeastern Indiana? She answers, “As a region (which includes several counties north of here), we’ve kind of held steady.” Of the grant, the executive director observes, “I do feel like it’s impactful” in area counties. “It does take awhile for the data to come around. Babies are making it to the 1-year mark, which is the goal for that particular grant.”

One Community One Family just finished using $750,000 annually for three years on Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health), funded by SAMHSA through the Indiana State Department of Health. A variety of strategies were utilized to improve the wellness of young children.

“We worked with SIEOC’s Head Start and Child Care Resource & Referral; the YMCA; a lot of child care providers; and Children’s Health Care.” Head Start ended up implementing a whole new curriculum and Children’s Health Care did screenings with parents. Incredible Years and Parent Cafes were expanded and those are continuing.

Spade points out, “We bring in a lot of grant money to this region, but we don’t keep it for ourselves. We’ve averaged over $1 million in grants every year we’ve been in existence. Of that, 60-70 percent goes out to other agencies.” OCOF employees aim for collaboration with the attitude “Let’s work together because we’ll be more effective that way.”

She recently has been focused on Dearborn County, which has been doing a lot to combat substance abuse. The Lawrenceburg mayor asked her to facilitate planning meetings. OCOF helped gain $1.5 million in grants. The Choices Emergency Response Team (a mobile team of specialists who provide 24-hour assessment and on-site crisis response to support individuals and families experiencing challenges with opioid overdoses, substance use and mental health crises) was able to hire five more employees, and Highpoint Health, Lawrenceburg, has hired a peer recovery coach who will be stationed in the emergency department.

“In the last year, we’ve been doing all this collaborative work down there. Three recovery residences have started through Oxford House, a national model. We advocated hard to get them to come there.” Anybody from this area can go.

Early childhood manager Jodi Alexander is at the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center, Lawrenceburg, every Friday to teach Incredible Years to women incarcerated due to substance abuse.

Spade adds, “We’re doing stuff with schools all the time.” For instance, the nonprofit helped Milan Community School Corp. get a grant that paid for two social workers.

After the state passed legislation mandating that teachers get suicide prevention training, OCOF was contacted by Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction. “Three of us here are now trainers.” Last year they trained hundreds of teachers in grades 5-12 in the six counties. “We just trained 60 this week in Milan.”

In addition to OCOF, tenants at the Batesville Area Resource Center, 920 County Line Road, are the Batesville Area Ministerial Association Food Pantry, Southeast Indiana Health Center, River Valley Resources, Choices Coordinated Care Solutions and its Choices Emergency Response Team, Project T3, SIEOC Community Action Partnership and WorkOne. Workers can’t help but mingle and share resources. She confirms, “Being with other agencies all under one roof has helped with that easy collaboration.”

The executive director realizes the more connections her employees have, “the more effective we can be in helping children and families in our region.” It’s a plus they all live here and most grew up here. “You just know a lot of people.” Spade went to school with two school superintendents, her brother manages the Community Mental Health Center housing program and a cousin is a probation officer. “When you have these long relationships, you can sometimes really get things done.”

When there’s a problem to be solved or issue to be lessened, she promises, “I won’t hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out.”

Wish list

• Funding for One Community One Family programs and services is provided by a variety of grants, contracts and donations. Spade says, “I spend a lot of time writing grants. One grant is not going to pay you to write another grant,” so monetary donations are always welcomed. They are saving up to purchase new computers.

• Board members

• Marketing assistance

• Website assistance

• Bikes in decent shape for people in recovery unable to drive

• Child care volunteers. “We even sometimes pay a small stipend for child care.”

• Meeting spaces. For programs, two rooms are needed, one for parents and the other for child care.

• Info and to donate: 877-967-OCOF, 812-932-1026, OCOF@onecommunityonefamily.org or www.onecommunityonefamily.org.

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