NCServes Metrolina, the first of four NCServes networks in the state, celebrated its third annual In-Practice Review (IPR) on November 7, 2018. The IPR celebrated the Metrolina (comprised of 10 NC counties) community’s hard work over three years and helped develop strategies to better serve Veterans. The “Secret Sauce” to a strong network is grounded in ancient wisdom and modern neuroscience–social connection is a necessary nutrient for human life— and both clients and providers alike are driven to connect to something bigger than themselves. Connection and engagement are key to high levels of quality care. With this in mind, representatives from all four AmericaServes Networks in NC, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and 40 community partner organizations and other stakeholders cultivated connectivity as Individuals, Organizations and a Community.
After first connecting as individuals through a “How Do I Come” icebreaker, Metrolina highlighted grassroots community initiatives—Carolinas Alliance for Veteran Employment, Housing our Heroes, Charlotte Veteran Network & Vet Charlotte, NC STRIVE, Service Member Veteran Family Suicide Prevention Workgroup, and the VA Community Veteran Engagement Board–and launched into a guided community conversation featuring four engaged NCServes Metrolina providers–Central Piedmont Community College, The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, Cardinal Innovations, Healthcare Solutions, and the Mecklenburg County Veterans Service Office—who spotlighted best practices and experiences around coordinating care across systems. The afternoon wrapped up with a Spider-Web Discovery exercise that used yarn to literally connect the dots between agencies to demonstrate the complexity of serving our military and Veteran families. Cardinal Innovations and The Resource Connection Gateway at the Gaston YMCA were also able to share “good news” stories about three of the 3,587 Veterans that have been successfully served since 2015.