Organizer Michelle Haney, associate professor of psychology at Berry College, said she hopes to make the symposium a regular event.
There were two main goals she had in mind: to create and build a forum to share ideas and resources, and to create a directory of area services that could be published online and in print.
“Resources are so precious in these tough times; networking and sharing ideas just makes such good sense right now,” Haney told those in attendance.
Each of the representatives shared with the group the details of their respective organization’s work, and several people said they learned a lot just by meeting their fellow service providers.
Tammy Bryant, the special populations coordinator for the Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority, told Haney that the symposium was already a success just by drawing so many like-minded people to the same location. She’s eager to put those new connections to work.
“We’re very limited in what we can do alone, but when we start collaborating with the community, we can really make a difference,” said Bryant.
In addition to the networking session, representatives from several organizations spoke at length about their work and experiences, as well as their areas of need. Haney said she would like to feature different agencies at future events.
The event organizer also asked participants to write down a brief list of services and areas of need so that she and her staff can catalog overlaps and match groups together that could really help each other out.
“In addition, in this economic climate of budget cuts and significant need, it seems to me that a symposium to facilitate a dialogue between service agencies might help all of us identify some common goals.
“Pulling resources and brain storming together can help a community better support individuals with disabilities,” Haney said.
For more information about this or future events, contact Haney at firstname.lastname@example.org.