Every hour of every day, someone needs access to essential services. That’s why Rebecca and other highly-trained United Way 2-1-1 contact specialists are available 24/hours a day, seven days a week. 2-1-1 is free, convenient and confidential.
Last year, 2-1-1 received more than 130,000 calls from people in our local community who were directed to specialists, like Rebecca, who communicate with people who speak multiple languages. Rebecca is genuine, compassionate and considers every experience to be a unique and rewarding adventure. She looks forward to going to work every day because she has the opportunity to help people from all backgrounds who are faced with a variety of issues, some small and some that could change the course a family’s future.
When assisting people, Rebecca ensures that they feel comfortable and trust her, often forming strong bonds while providing solutions for the daily challenges they face. Many families and individuals are experiencing the most vulnerable of times, so just providing a listening ear can help. She knows that the first one to two minutes tend to be the most important.
Fielding contacts over the telephone and online, Rebecca and her colleagues work closely with families and individuals to develop creative plans for addressing immediate needs, and resources and services that help support the underlying cause of the problem. They function as a team and are supportive of each other.
Often it’s more than just one issue that prompts that first contact with 2-1-1. Rebecca recalls a family who was in need of fuel to heat their home. A man lost his job and that was at the core of the family’s financial problems. Rebecca offered programs to help meet the immediate needs such as energy assistance as well as job search resources and other options specific to the family’s longer term needs.
“We aren’t trying to just provide a band aid, but a strategic plan that works to fulfill all of a person’s needs and break down any barriers in their way,” said Rebecca. Rebecca is one of several contact specialists trained to help with financial problems, including budgeting and income support resources.
The contact specialist team finds assistance for food, housing, childcare or help for an aging parent. They help individuals and families with some of life’s most complex issues, such as substance abuse and intervention, and suicide prevention. They also help with simpler issues such as volunteer and donation opportunities for those looking to help others. Locally, last year the most frequent requests were from people looking for help finding housing or shelter, paying for utilities and heat and finding mental health services. In central and northeastern Connecticut, more than 10 percent of requests come from suburbs like Simsbury, Berlin, Glastonbury, Mansfield, Vernon and Suffield.
“We all go through different things at different points in our lives.
2-1-1 is here to help,” said Wendy Caruso, director of United Way of Connecticut’s 2-1-1 Contact Center Operations.
2-1-1 is a resource from which everyone can benefit. It offers opportunities, meeting the everyday needs of a family and our community by finding short- and long-terms solutions, especially during life’s toughest moments.
It takes a lot to support a family’s many needs, including access to health and human services through 2-1-1’s contact specialists and online resources. Gifts directly to United Way benefit all of us. We all win when everyone has access to services and support, thanks to people like Rebecca. This is one way United Way, its partners and caring people like you build a stronger community and create lasting, positive change for all of us.