You saw a posting on the Beaver Island Forum about a Health Fair in September sponsored by the Human Services Commission, and you might have asked yourself: “The Human Services Commission–What is it? Who is it? What is it doing?” Good questions!! Let’s try to answer them.
In the fall of 2009, both townships passed a resolution that established a commission to (in part) “identify and prioritize the island’s human needs, identify sources for providing those, advocate for the Island with off-Island agencies to work toward providing for the needs of Islanders.” And so, the Human Services Commission was born.
The mission statement of the HSC states: “The Human Services Commission is a collaboration of organizations that advocates for the emotional and physical needs of Island residents and visitors of all ages.” The Commission membership is from across the Island and identifies with the diverse needs of the Island. Current members include: Pam Grassmick, Peaine Township representative and HSC chairperson; Donna Kubic, BI Rural Health Center and HSC secretary; Alice Belfy, BI Community School; Steve Finch, BI Lighthouse School; Judi Meister, Food Pantry; Kathy Tidmore, St. James Township representative; Nancy Tritsch, Council on Aging; Bob Tidmore, Amvets; Lois Williams, Hospice and Helping Hands. Joan Vyse, as St. James representative, regrettably was unable to complete her tenure.
The Commission has set three major goals:
- Build collaborative partnerships to foster physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being of residents and visitors
- Implement structure to coordinate information re: access to services for community use
- Support the economic vitality of our community by ensuring that services are available and accessible
Putting it simply: We are hoping that as a group of people representing many different service organizations, we will have more credibility and “clout” than any of the organizations might have operating individually. We want to ensure that Beaver Island receives its fair share of tax-supported services, and we want information about those services to be available in user-friendly form.
In January, four members of the Commission traveled to Charlevoix to meet with Shirley Roloff, Charlevoix County Commissioner representing Beaver Island, and 15 members from various county agencies to to discuss improving communication regarding services available to all Charlevoix County residents, however removed from the mainland, the efficient delivery of those services, and developing a gap analysis of services.
The Commission continues to work toward ensuring that living on Beaver Island remains a viable option for low income, elderly, visitors, and all those in-between. In September 2010, the Commission will offer a Human Services Fair for the Island community with participating agencies of Emmet and Charlevoix counties.
The HSC holds monthly meetings the third Tuesday of each month at 2:00 at BI Community School. The HSC also meets monthly (by teleconference) with the Coordinating Body of Emmet and Charlevoix Human Services for the purpose of obtaining relevant information in a timely manner. There is much we hope to accomplish as the HSC connects with mainland resource services to work toward providing for the needs of Islanders.