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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Summer 2007 > MSAA's Resource Detectives Program Now in Full Swing
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MSAA's Resource Detectives Program Now in Full Swing

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"I was in touch with a wonderful woman at the MS Association who, first and foremost, listened to the situation I was in and began working with me. She tookthis bull by the horns and was determined to help me. She sent me an information packet which will enable me to order equipment and cooling products from MSAA to make my life easier. Then she researched and put me in touch with an agency about my local Center for Independent Living because I need a ramp... For once I can tell you, all will be well with my MS needs."

This inspirational and appreciative testimonial is from a client who recently received assistance through our Helpline and MSAA's highly effective Resource Detectives Program. As you may know, MSAA's trained Helpline staff works closely with each client who contacts the organization to discuss the many issues, emotions, and challenges that often occur with MS and then works to identify appropriate information, resources, and solutions to resolve each case. By the close of our fiscal year on June 30th, MSAA's Helpline staff responded to and assisted more than 12,000 clients through the agency's toll-free Helpline and email correspondence.

To support the Helpline staff by increasing their efficiency and ability to respond to a rising volume of calls and email, MSAA developed and launched a unique program in 2005 called Resource Detectives. This MSAA program mobilizes a national workforce of trained volunteers who use their skills and ingenuity to research and report to MSAA local agencies and organizations which offer assistance to meet the needs of the MS community.

These "detectives," many of whom have MS, research the internet, place phone calls, attend advocacy meetings, and use other creative methods to seek out the most up-to-date resources for a variety of topics. Examples of topics include financial assistance, transportation, housing/home modifications, legal support, prescription assistance programs, employment resources, and other vital areas of service.

During the past two years, the Resource Detectives Program quickly gained momentum and grew from a few hundred entries and a handful of volunteers, to a database of several-thousand listings and a true national initiative. To help bolster program outreach and integrate the necessary systems to manage its expansion, MSAA is proud to announce the receipt of a generous grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

Through this grant, MSAA will be able to develop and disseminate upgraded comprehensive training packages, expand volunteer recruitment initiatives, and institute powerful hardware and software technologies to import, track, and evaluate data collection, all of which will allow us to improve the quality of life for thousands of clients each year. Additionally, future plans are to develop a system where this expansive resource database can be shared and accessed via the internet by the MS community, including MS centers, organizations, physicians, and clients.

"MSAA is grateful for the support Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is providing to our innovative Resource Detectives initiative," states Bob Rapp, MSAA's vice president of programs and evaluation. "This program will engage people with MS to identify services of high quality which will directly benefit others with the illness. This concept of utilizing those with the disease in service to others affected by MS provides tangible benefits to both groups."

The core of this program's success is the volunteer, or in this case, the detective. Armed with a telephone, computer, and resilient determination, the Resource Detective works behind the scenes to sleuth and uncover the many hidden resources that help support and serve thousands of MS clients throughout the country.

One such top detective who's been on the case since the program began is Karen Pietrangelo. According to Karen, the Resource Detectives Program is a great way to reach out and help others, while still enjoying all the comforts of home.

Karen explains, "This is an extremely fun project to work on and I can do it from home and fit it around my other commitments. I find it very rewarding to identify resources that actually make a difference in the lives of those with MS. I highly recommend this program and encourage everyone to get involved, especially if they've found a resource that's helped them and want to share it with others. There is no better feeling than to help other people."

With this new program expansion, MSAA needs additional supportive detectives to help continue the exceptional work that began with Karen and the other volunteers.

We need you on the case! To become a Resource Detective or to learn more, please contact Malcolm Friend at (800) 532-7667, extension 141 or via email at mfriend@mymsaa.org. Readers may also visit support.mymsaa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Resource_Detectives for more information.

— Peter Damiri

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Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 10:29