Celebrating 10 years of offering hope at The Help Center
Meet Laura Deal-Decker
Social Worker Laura Deal-Decker’s favorite aspect of her job is “sharing options with people to bring hope to a difficult situation.” For the last 10 years, Laura has served as community liaison at The Help Center, one of 12 local health-related agencies located within the Health Services Pavilion on Provident Drive in Warsaw.
The Help Center serves as a starting point for many families who find themselves in need of financial assistance due to a medical issue. Laura helps individuals and families understand the resources available to them, and assists in securing financial support from a pool of local charitable funds.
Laura is a 20 year veteran in Social Work, having worked at Combined Community Services for 10 years before coming to The Help Center in November 2011. She came to Kosciusko County to attend Grace College where she earned her BSW. She also holds a Master of Social Work degree from Andrews University.
The Help Center, which is funded by Kosciusko County Community Foundation and K21 Health Foundation, provides financial support to approximately 600-800 people a year through various local charitable funds. Laura sees a combination of one-time visitors who are experiencing a short-term medical crisis, and regular clients who are facing long-term medical care.
Much of the assistance that Laura helps distribute to Kosciusko County residents is funded through Community Foundation Funds such as the KC Riley Kids Fund, the Good Samaritan Fund, the Wise Fund, the Bibs Memorial Fund, and the Jimmy Baker Memorial Diabetes Fund. The Help Center also administers the Cancer Care Fund on behalf of K21 Health Foundation.
As opposed to government support, these local funds can be accessed relatively quickly by Laura on behalf of her clients. She works closely with the administrative staff of the Community Foundation to provide help to those in need when they need it.
“It’s amazing that we really are the only county in this region to have resources on this level,” says Laura. “These funds are unique to Kosciusko County. We are fortunate to have so much donor support. It’s hard to imagine what people would do without the help.”
Many of the people who depend on Laura’s help are struggling to keep up with medical bills, or people who have had their lives change quickly due to sudden illness or injury. Most of The Help Center’s clients learn about the services through word-of-mouth, while others are referred by their doctor’s office or social service providers.
Navigating medical bills and finding the appropriate channels for support are things that she helps people deal with on a regular basis. Laura says it works really well being located in the Health Services Pavilion because the different agencies are often able to help people with more than one issue by referring them to other organizations in the pavilion. Learn More Here: http://koshelpcenter.org/
Thank you, Laura, for your commitment to Kosciusko County residents over the last 10 years!