Mentor Community role – Chautauqua Tapestry

NYS Success Newsletter – July 30, 2013
By Pat Brinkman and Rachel Ludwig

As the NYS Success Network takes hold in Upstate New York, Chautauqua County is beginning to feel its role as a mentor community. To us, being a mentor is many things. It is a compliment to the work we’ve done; an accountability standard to maintain and a motivator for us to continue to improve on our own County’s SOC; and being a mentor is an opportunity to support our overall strategic plan of offering replicable and sustainable shifts in the “system”. Chautauqua County is in its 5th year of our SAMHSA cooperative agreement.

Time has flown so quickly as we’ve done this work. Over the years we have been blessed with a richly talented Technical Assistance Team. The team is comprised of individuals with extensive backgrounds that match the areas of focus of our proposal. This team is as committed to the success of Tapestry as those of us who live and work in the community. Monthly phone calls with the TA team provide an opportunity to share successes but more importantly to discuss barriers and failures. Tapestry staff and our Governance Board share the philosophy that systems become better only when we are unafraid to see and share the “good, the bad and the ugly”. This approach has allowed the TA Team to tailor their assistance to our needs and to connect us with other communities or experts around the country that has that particular focus or has faced and successfully overcome a barrier.

We have often said that the most impactful aspect of the cooperative agreement has been access to technical assistance that we would never have had otherwise. As a mentor community Tapestry sees its role as paying forward the knowledge, resources and experience we have garnered as we have labored to strengthen our system of care. We welcome the new communities to connect with our team. Let us be there for you as our TA Team was there for us! Patricia Brinkman is the Principal Investigator of Tapestry and Director of Community Services for Chautauqua County Mental Hygiene. She and her team have brought to Chautauqua County numerous train the trainer models in order to achieve comprehensive and sustainable supports targeted especially on high fidelity wraparound, recognition and prevention of mental illness, and trauma informed responses across SOC.

All this work has been done with extensive support from the partners across the SOC from the direct practice partners, to the agency and department heads that serve on the County’s Governing Body. As the Lead Evaluator for Tapestry, Dr. Mansoor A.F. Kazi has implemented a comprehensive local evaluation of Chautauqua’s system of care partners. The work accomplished over the past four years of the Tapestry initiative has allowed the most extensive practice of realist evaluation to date for Dr. Kazi and he looks forward to leading the evaluation for Success to further monitor, support and impact SOC policy, finance, service delivery and child outcomes. Chautauqua Tapestry is looking forward to being a Success Team support. We welcome the communities of Upstate New York to connect with our Team. We can offer specific training within communities or just have a phone call to brainstorm through an idea.