2008 Maryland AIRS Conference
Workshop Descriptions

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recession and Crisis: How Can I&R Help?


8:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast
Room 100




9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

Welcoming Remarks
Bill Moss, President

Maryland AIRS
Room 100




9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Keynote Address: One Voice Can Make a Difference
Michael Lechance

Room 100


Legislators really do listen to their constituents. Advocacy is much
more than just lobbying. You as an I&R professional can make a
difference and your callers can make their voices heard.



10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.





10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Panel Discussion: Beyond Basic I&R
Room 100


How Bad Is It?

Suzi Borg


How can we really be prepared?  What do we need to have in place in our centers as the needs of the community change We will identify some of the challenges we are facing and some possible solutions for I&R centers.


When I&R Is Not Enough: Strategies for Working with the Community

Linda Hayes


Learn how I&R’s can expand services to include strategies like: creating satellite I&R resources; networking/partnering with human service groups, funders, businesses, citizens and even politicians; tracking unmet needs and incubating community solutions.


How Far Can I&R Go? Advocating for Your Callers

Valerie Wethered


Now that we have identified the challenges and what we, as I&R professionals can do to prepare for and address these challenges, we will examine how to appropriately advocate for your caller?  Advocacy is what happens when empowerment is not enough. Learn specific steps you can take to assist callers when they are facing barriers in their attempts to obtain needed services.


The Switch To Digital TV: Is This a Crisis For Your Callers?

Bob Blancato

A crisis is that which the caller perceives as an interruption or danger to his or her state of well being.  At midnight on February 17, 2009, all televisions will switch from analog to 100% digital and those who are still receiving their signal over the air will have to convert to a digital signal. For many seniors, immigrant and others with special needs, being without a TV for a companion is definitely a crisis.




11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Lunch, Roundtable Discussion and Business Meeting

Room 100




1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Concurrent Early Afternoon Workshops

(select one)


Signs of a Caller in Crisis
Tim Jansen

Room 201

Do your hands sweat and heart palpitates when you get that caller in crisis? It happens to all of us. This workshop will present tools to enhance your skills in handling that crisis phone call. Not only will practical information be provided, there will also be role playing that can give the participants an opportunity to put those tips to action.


How Can Legal Aid Help Our Callers?
Lisa Sarro, Esq.

Room 100

Maryland Legal Aid is a statewide non-profit organization serving Baltimore City and Maryland’s 23 counties from 13 offices throughout the State.  Legal Aid is the largest provider of legal services to Maryland’s low income, elderly and vulnerable populations, providing community education, legal advice, and direct representation.  Legal Aid’s practice encompasses most areas of law, including housing, consumer, health, income maintenance, employment, family and education law.  Maryland Legal Aid also operates a statewide Senior Legal Helpline, which is available to all Maryland residents age 6o and above.  In this session, you will hear about the different types of matters Maryland Legal Aid handles.  You will learn how to direct callers to the appropriate Legal Aid office for your area, and you will also learn what limitations or restrictions there may be for eligibility for Legal Aid services.


Helping Your Callers Stretch Their Dollars
Susan K. Morris

Room 202

What do you say when clients call with money management questions? In this workshop, we’ll walk through the basics of creating and managing a spending plan/budget. We’ll then discuss the principles of credit and debt management, including credit scoring, credit reports and debt repayment plans. Workshop participants will leave with a “tool kit” of helpful resources.




2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Refreshment Break
Room 100




2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Concurrent Late Afternoon Workshops

(select one)


Building Up Your Toolbox
Sharon Doner-Feldman

Room 202

A quality toolbox contains not just one hammer, screwdriver and wrench, but should have a variety of sizes and tools that are available to do many functions.  Strong I&R skills are crucial for a successful information specialist, however, to be outstanding, one needs more than basic skills.  Networking, brainstorming and superior customer service skills provide a strong platform for handling any kind of customer need.  This is a hands-on workshop, utilizing case studies and role plays designed to sharpen even the seasoned I&R professional’s skills.


Weathering the Storm – Disaster Planning for I&R Services
Pamela Simonson

Room 201

If your I&R office was damaged in a natural or man-made disaster, how long would it take to begin serving your clients again? A few hours, days or even months?  With a little preparation and some frank discussions BEFORE disaster strikes, you can reduce the trauma, not only for your office, but for your clients as well. Learn how incorporating disaster volunteers into your organization’s emergency plans can reduce your response time to clients, decrease your recovery time and increase resiliency. It is not a question of IF but WHEN the next disaster/emergency will strike. Are you ready?


A Brief Overview of Landlord, Tenant and Foreclosure Laws: Where Can a Person Turn For Help?
Susan Tannenbaum, Esq.

Room 100

This workshop will present an overview of tenants’ rights and where they can turn for help. Laws affecting foreclosure will be examined as well as resources currently available.



Conference Schedule at a Glance



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