The Carmel Clay Public Library recently played host to the February class of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy (HCLA), and what a day it was! Sponsored by Riverview Health, the class delved into the heart of community care and service, shedding light on the vital role of social services in our county.

Insightful Beginnings

The day commenced with an enlightening talk by Nancy Chance, the Executive Director of the Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County. Nancy provided a rich historical perspective on the network, its goals, and its significant accomplishments. Stressing the importance of collaborative emergency management, she highlighted the need for planning and partnerships. She discussed various crucial areas of focus, from food insecurity, housing, and transportation needs, to mental health and legal assistance. It was a stark reminder of the diverse needs within our community and the power of collective action to address them.

Navigating Non-Profit Engagement

Following Nancy’s presentation, Patrick Propst, our esteemed Dean, led a discussion on non-profit board engagement and volunteer leadership pathways. We discussed varying levels of involvement from boards, to committees, to volunteering in more of a boots-on-the-ground kind of way.  Drawing from personal experiences, class members emphasized the importance of effective communication, humility in acknowledging one’s limitations, and the unwavering passion necessary for sustainable community impact.

Round Table Insights

After a satisfying lunch break, the class immersed themselves in roundtable discussions with a spectrum of non-profit organizations across the county. With ten diverse categories to explore, each student had the opportunity to delve into areas of personal interest, gaining invaluable insights and fostering meaningful one-on-one interactions.  The categories included: children’s therapy, disability resources, family support, food insecurity, health care, housing, mental health, senior care & support, youth & community development, and youth support & mentorship. 

Community Foundation’s Vision

As the day drew to a close, the Hamilton County Community Foundation took the stage to illuminate its role in serving the community. From enhancing donor experiences to providing crucial non-profit leadership training and grant funding, their multifaceted approach towards behavioral health, youth empowerment, and economic inclusivity underscored their commitment to nurturing a thriving community.

A Bright Future Ahead

In reflection, Social Services Day served as a poignant reminder of the indispensable role of social services in ensuring the well-being of all citizens. Armed with newfound knowledge, insights, and a shared commitment to community betterment, the HCLA February class departed with renewed optimism for the future of Hamilton County.

Social services are indeed the cornerstone of a healthy and vibrant community, and with initiatives like HCLA leading the way, Hamilton County is poised for a future brimming with promise and prosperity.