Hi! My name is Melina Lasater and I’m the VISTA SOAR State Coordinator here at THN. My goal for my volunteer year is to establish a stronger SOAR community and to implement SOAR in new communities throughout the state. Since I started in February, I’ve been able to work on putting together a quarterly SOAR Newsletter that discusses current changes and events that impact the state SOAR community. I’ve also been able to attend SOAR Refresher trainings in Austin, Houston and more recently assisted with presenting one in Belton.
My VAD (VISTA Assignment Description) allows me to have flexibility on how to increase the SOAR Program within the state, and in early February, SAMHSA and the SOAR TA Center held a webinar that discussed a pilot program using MSW students to help process SOAR claims. One of the schools selected for the initial pilot program was the University of Texas. I was able to facilitate meetings with different Deans and Directors within the MSW Department to gather enough information and data to initiate a Texas SOAR BSW Pilot Program. Another accomplishment was holding a call with the SOAR points of contact at each SSA field office within the state, and discussing their key part in the SOAR process. This allowed us to facilitate a conversation with areas that may not have known about SOAR.
There has been positive feedback since starting my VISTA year and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year holds!
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