May 03, 2006

WSIU, regional coalition honored for partnership

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A national broadcasting organization awarded WSIU Public Broadcasting its top national prize for community outreach for its cooperation with a coalition of service organizations in Southern Illinois.

The National Center for Outreach, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, gave the Community Partnership Award to WSIU and the Quad Counties Coalition, a group of health and service organizations serving four counties in Southern Illinois.

The award, given since 2001, honors the best partnership between community organizations and public broadcast in the country.

The National Center for Outreach helps local stations provide outreach to communities through funding, professional development and networking with providers and national organizations. The organization made the award during a ceremony April 7 in St. Louis. Beth Spezia, field representative, and Candis Isberner, executive director, accepted the award on behalf of WSIU. Roberta Williams, of Franklin Hospital Senior Care in Benton, and Donna Serrett of the Illinois Foundation for Quality Health Care accepted the award on behalf of the Quad Counties Coalition.

Isberner said WSIU has cooperated with Quad Counties Coalition for four years. WSIU, she said, strives to air programs that address issues important to its local audience, and then works with community organizations to make a difference.

"The really exciting part is that we were reviewed by many station peers around the country and selected as the station for this award," Isberner said. "We're very mission-oriented to make a positive difference in our community by working with our partners."

In making the award, the organization took several examples of cooperation between WSIU and the coalition into account. Those include "The Forgetting" and "The Coping," both about the effects of Alzheimer's disease and resources for dealing with it, and public education efforts for Medicaid Part D. The two groups also collaborated on a future needs assessment survey for baby boomers, a program, discussion and health care provider training video on the methamphetamine problem and "Rebuilding Together," a program featuring a volunteer home repair and construction program, among others.

"It's a partnership that has a high balance of trust and clear responsibilities, and the strength of the partnership has become even more meaningful over time," officials at the National Center for Outreach said in a statement.

The Quad Counties Coalition serves Jackson, Williamson, Perry and Franklin counties. It includes the Illinois Foundation for Quality Healthcare, Williamson County Programs on Aging, Jackson County Senior Services, Egyptian Area Agency on Aging, Shawnee Alliance for Seniors, Southern Illinois Regional Social Services, Franklin-Williamson Human Services, Inc., Alzheimer's Association Greater Illinois Chapter, Addus Adult Day Center, Southern Illinois Healthcare, SIUC psychology department, SIUC social work program, Southern Illinois Center for Independent Living, Heartland Regional Medical Center, Southern Illinois Behavioral Services, River-to-River Residential Corp., Carterville Family Practice and the Gold Plate Program. WSIU also is a member of the coalition.

Members have worked together over several years to provide training and education on mental health and aging to direct service providers and to develop support groups for seniors and their families.

The SIU Board of Trustees holds the license for WSIU Public Broadcasting, which operates two analog and two digital public television channels, three public radio stations, a Web site, and an education and community outreach department.

Serving others is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.