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HomeAt Home & BeyondConnect more with locals through the Community Connections Conference

Connect more with locals through the Community Connections Conference

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In today’s challenging times, with so many Hernando residents in need, both agencies and individuals are seeking new ways to provide food, housing, and medical resources and services that can save and sustain their lives. These trained help professionals and caring volunteers will come together on May 10 in Spring Hill to make some vital and impactful community connections.

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People Helping People will host the biannual Community Connections Conference on Wednesday, May 10th, from 11:30 am – 2 pm at the PHP Help Center, 1396 Kass Circle, Spring Hill. Lunch will be served from 11:30 am – 12 pm.

An event notice invited the public to join with others that help serve the Hernando County community. They gather to share information about local organizations, to network, and to make new meaningful connections with others.

The ultimate goal of the Community Connections Conference is threefold; organizers seek to identify and share existing resources in Hernando County; increase awareness and identify gaps in services; and share common goals for increasing support and self-sufficiency tools for at-risk and vulnerable community members. Participants are encouraged to take an active role in the conference, bringing information regarding their agencies and organizations to share with others. And they will be given an opportunity to address the group regarding their mission, resources, and services.

Indeed, Community Connections is all about helping and networking – forming a caring and capable team of Hernando organizers at a time when their services are needed the most.
“So many of us are frustrated right now; so many problems face us that need to be fixed,” said Maureen Soliman, RN, clinic administrator at People Helping People. “We need to make the change.”

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It was, in fact, the strong desire to make this change that inspired Soliman to conceptualize and host this one-of-a-kind conference. “There has always been great value to those who attend,” she said. “This is a place to teach and learn, to raise awareness. So many people are asking, ‘What can I do?’ Here they learn the answers.”

Agencies represented at Community Connections include hospitals, mental health care facilities, organizations that provide food and housing services to those who need them, as well as those specialized groups formed to help children, the elderly, the abused, and more.

“Homelessness is an especially strong concern for us right now,” Soliman revealed. “We need to work together to make a road, a road that will take families to homes. People in this county need to work together to make an effect.”

Now that’s the whole idea behind Community Connections, which regularly features the diverse agencies that serve our community. Those agencies include People Helping People, an interfaith community established to provide food, clothing and other basic necessities to needy individuals; Vincent House, whose mission is to assist, promote, and celebrate individuals recovering from a mental illness in their effort to improve social and vocational skills; Hernando Community Coalition, which serves as a convener of community sectors including youth, parents, schools, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, government agencies and more, who work in partnership to better the health of youth and families through the prevention of substance misuse and supporting emotional and behavioral health awareness; Mid Florida Community Services, Inc., a mid-size nonprofit 501(c)(3) Community Action agency dedicated to eliminating the causes of poverty through a comprehensive service delivery approach; and Baycare, a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 16 hospitals and hundreds of other locations.

Kendra Kenney, executive director of People Helping People in Hernando County, Inc., stated that more and different organizations are signing up and gearing up to connect at Community Connections. “When you learn something,” Kenney said. “You do something.”

Also, welcome at Community Connections are volunteers who want to know how to donate and contribute to the agencies and organizations that are making a difference in our community. “Here, they will learn what’s going on in Hernando County,” said Soliman. To be a part of Community Connections, please RSVP to [email protected] or by calling 352-686-4466. Seating is limited.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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