What is Connections?
Connections is a shared effort by residents, businesses and organizations within the Hannah Penn Neighborhood, with the primary purpose to build connection so Hannah Penn families and community organizations can work together to enhance neighborhood health and well-being.
Residents are at the core of Connections – they live in and know the Hannah Penn community best. Through residents and community partners working together, Connections will build on the strength of the community and respond to implement needed and effective programs and initiatives to promote a healthy community.
Connections began in January 2021 and is supported by four Core Partners – the City of York, Community Progress Council/Community of Hope, Family First Health and the School District of the City of York – and is funded by the United Health Foundation.
The Goals of Connections
- Community organizations and residents working together to focus their expertise and resources on supporting and enhancing the Hannah Penn Community in meaningful ways to the residents who live there
- Community Health Workers working in the community, building trust and relationships with the students, families and the school, helping with connection to and navigation of resources and services to create a healthier and safer community
- Family First Health Hannah Penn Health Center re-established as a robust student-based health hub, directly informed by the work of the residents, Community Health Workers and organizations working in the community
Hearing from and including residents in the decision-making process is at the core of our work. Partnering with the community, some of these efforts include:
- Connection to services
Our team connects residents to various services, such as medical, dental, health insurance, housing, employment, etc.
- Monthly Hygiene Distribution at Community of Hope
Hygiene products are provided FREE to the community on a monthly basis.
– Hygiene Flyer
- Walking School Bus
Participating Hannah Penn K-8 students are “picked up” at designated “bus stops” along the route to school, and walk to school in a group led by trained adult staff members.
– Walking School Bus Letter to Parents
– Walking School Bus Letter to Parents – Haitian Creole
- Connections in the Community
Monthly walks and conversations throughout the community.
All names have been changed to protect identity.
I received a phone call on 9/20/2021 from a community member I met during the National Night Out event on August 3, 2021. During the event, I had introduced myself and the services we provide, and offered her my business card. She said, “At the moment I do not need any assistance.” I asked her to take my card anyway just in case her situation changes and she needs help later on. On 9/20, she called stating that now she needs help, and if I could please assist her with applying for utilities assistance…a team member went to Community of Hope (the community resource center) and submitted the utility assistance application for the client. I am glad she kept my card and was able to reach out to me so we could assist her.
Patient reached out to me a couple of months after making a connection through a Welcome Wagon outreach. Patient needed assistance after losing her SNAP benefits and not knowing what to do next. An appointment was scheduled and a new application was completed for patient. Once the application for SNAP was completed, patient and I contacted the WellSpan portal customer service team to help patient regain access to her and her children’s medical portal. She was able to get the verification documents COMPASS requested to be able to process the application. During our conversation, I found out patient had only been in York for a couple of months when her daughter became a new student at the school. Additional resources were offered and a referral to Community of Hope was made for ESL classes, employment, ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program) application assistance for her mother and assistance with filling out the HeadStart application for her youngest son. Patient had also mentioned that she had transferred her Section 8 when she moved from Puerto Rico, but never heard back from them. I worked with a team member in Community of Hope to assist contacting their office to see status of application and next steps to take. A referral was also made to WIC for her youngest son, as patient was not aware she could receive those benefits for him. Since son is still potty training, I created a new order for diapers through our diaper bank connection to be able to provide pull-ups every month. I am proud to say that although patient only came in for one thing, we were able to work together and provide the patient with different resources needed all in just one stop. This is a perfect example of the great connections we make with families through the school. This mother had saved my number from a simple conversation we had a few months ago, and reached out when she was ready with confidence that I was going to provide what she needed for her family. I am proud of our team and the work we do!
On July 28, the Community Health Programs Manager referred to me a client from a community Integrated Practice Team meeting she attended. It was for a dad and his two young children. Dad is filing for sole/full custody of his children due to the children’s mom having a substance use disorder and abandoning the children. Dad needed assistance with scheduling a medical and dental appointment for the children. The children have major tooth decay on their two front teeth and other dental issues. I assisted dad in switching the PCP on the insurance to Family First Health and helped schedule both medical and dental appointments for the children. I followed up last week with dad to see how things were going, and he explained that he received a letter from unemployment stating that his unemployment has discontinued. I offered to assist him in applying for SNAP and provided him with a few places that are currently hiring. I met with him on Tuesday, Sept 16, and completed the SNAP application. I will also be reaching out to him in order to assist him with scheduling a dental appointment with a specialist.
Last week and this week, I have been in constant communication with a mother of a Kindergartener. We met through the Kindergarten Program and although the start of our connection was a bit rocky, mother finally opened up and began to reach out for services and assistance. Mother has reached out to me several times to assist with directions to the school events, questions with school uniform, assistance with transferring niece to Hannah Penn and recently information on school closure due to the weather. During the first day of school for the Kindergarten student, mother and student came to me for assistance and guidance on where to go and questions to ask to the teacher (as mother does not speak English). Although I was not able to connect to any medical/dental providers since mother and children are already patients at Family First Health, I am still able to provide directions and be there for the family to answer any questions they may have. It might have been difficult in the beginning, but by being positive and being available to this family, it has resulted in a positive impact and a great connection!
Stories of Connections Collaboration
Meet Ella and read about the positive impact Connections’ work has had on her life.
Connections is built on relationships and collaboration. Monthly distribution events of hygiene/household products were launched in January by Family First Health (FFH) & Community Progress Council/Community of Hope (CPC) to meet a basic need and to connect neighbors with supports and resources. Ella came to the February event after someone she knew told her that it was a safe and welcoming place. Ella recently moved to the US and does not yet have her citizenship documentation. Ella connected with a Health Connector (HC) who assisted her in obtaining vaccinations for her children, enrolling in the sliding fee program at FFH, connecting her to the Health Community Network and securing an established medical home at FFH. Through a strategic coaching partnership, the HC introduced her to CPC’s Resource Navigator who helped her in completing an Emergency Rental Assistance application, connected her with a same day appointment for Catholic Harvest Food Pantry and finally to a Workforce Development Coach to guide her through the process of reaching her employment goals, including obtaining her license in cosmetology. Through the advocacy of the resource navigator and grant funding from CPC, CPC supported Ella to obtain her translated diploma and she is enrolled in Empire Beauty School.
Meet Jose and read about the positive impact Connections’ work has had on his life.
To provide awareness and education to the Hannah Penn neighborhood about healthy foods and the York Fresh Food Farms Mobile Produce Market stop, partnering agencies Community Progress Council (CPC) and Family First Health (FFH) hosted a “Go and Grow” event. The event provided nutrition education, vegetable plant kits to go as well as other resource information. Through connecting with the participants, a Resource Navigator from CPC and a Health Connector from Family First Health met Jose and engaged in conversation. They quickly discovered that he was unable to obtain medical insurance through his employer. Through these conversations, follow-up appointments were scheduled with Jose, and he was enrolled in health insurance and connected to medical providers. Additionally, he was introduced to the services and support available at CPC’s Family Resource Center, Community of Hope.
Meet Sarah and read about the positive impact Connections’ work has had on her life.
Through an Integrated Practice Team meeting, a Health Connector (HC) was introduced to Sarah. Sarah was new to the area and was not familiar with the resources needed for her family, including her son with autism. Through the HC, Sarah was assisted with securing medical care and insurance, case management with MH/IDD and WIC. The HC introduced her to the Resource Navigator (RN) who was able to support her with navigating housing and utility assistance as well as SNAP enrollment. Sarah visits Community of Hope to use the clothing closet and for monthly hygiene distributions. Her goals include enrolling in ESL and obtaining childcare so she can secure employment. The HC and RN work cohesively through a shared coaching model, which supports Sarah with her goals and avoids duplication of services.
How to Get Involved with Connections
Complete this form to contact the Connections team.