Grantee Highlights

ACE Overcomers and Merced County Office of Education’s Family Resource Center

The Merced County Office of Education’s Family Resource Center (MCOE/FRC) and ACE Overcomers, ACEs Aware grantees from Merced County, have developed a strategic partnership that seeks to achieve greater impact through collaboration. Read on for their joint interview.

Question for ACE Overcomers & MCOE: What are your roles as partners in Merced County?

There are four main reasons that drove our resolve to create a strategic alliance: have one united message, boost efficiency, increase effectiveness, and drive broader social and systems change.

To align on content and responsibilities, it was important to determine a “lead” agency for the Merced County campaign. Carrie Schaller of the FRC was tasked with playing quarterback for both partners. ACE Overcomers participated as a team player by attending regular brainstorming sessions in the development of creative concepts and content, achievement of deliverables, and dissemination of communication materials.

Funding for ACE Overcomers was not limited to Merced County; it also included Madera County. Phil Schmauss of ACE Overcomers took the lead on objectives and outcomes for the Madera County campaign.

Both the Merced and Madera campaigns had one goal: to disseminate ACEs Aware-related materials, such as educational videos, billboards, radio ads, and social media advertising. Our target audience was Medi-Cal and other health care providers and, by extension, the general public.

Question for ACE Overcomers: How has this communications grant grown and supported your partnership with MCOE?

ACE Overcomers and MCOE have an eight-year history of collaboration. When the communications grants were awarded, MCOE immediately contacted Dave Lockridge, CEO of ACE Overcomers, to propose working together. MCOE has expertise in media and communications, while ACE Overcomers has expertise in trauma-informed messaging. Each organization complemented the other.

The communications grant has enabled ACE Overcomers and MCOE to educate and engage professionals and influencers, resulting in quality messaging, a deeper level of involvement with leaders, and a larger community audience. It has resulted in an effective media outreach campaign that has reached our county and beyond, and brings two complementary organizations together in a unified message to address and help overcome ACEs.

Question for MCOE: How has the communications grant and partnership with ACE Overcomers allowed you to extend your work as a network of care planning grantee and strengthen your relationship with the county’s behavioral health services division?

Our common goal is to have a resilient community. We understand what we’re trying to achieve and, equally important, how we’re collectively trying to achieve our goals for the success of Merced County’s network of care. As they say, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and we cannot do this work alone. It takes a collaborative community to help each child thrive, build resiliency, and grow to be the best they can be.

MCOE/FRC has collaborated with Behavioral Health & Recovery Services (BHRS) to provide a safe space for families to meet monthly about their child(ren) who are struggling with academic and/or behavioral needs. BHRS funds the “Supportive Ongoing Services” progam, which provides wraparound services from eight different organizations within Merced County. Everyone from these organizations have a stake in the child and family. We’re all part of our community, and we want our community members to be resilient and thriving, for the future of both our children and our families.

We look forward to continuing our work with many different organizations in Merced County, including BHRS, Merced County Juvenile Probation, First 5 Merced County, Central Valley Regional Center, Valley Crisis Center, and Merced County H.S.A./Child Welfare Services to build the best network of care for the county.

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