The ALS Association Honors Chapters at National Leadership Conference

February 6, 2015

This week The ALS Association is hosting our Leadership Conference in Tampa, Florida, gathering volunteers and staff to participate in workshops and skill-building sessions around governance, communications, fundraising and staff development. Our National Board of Trustees and Board of Representatives are also meeting during this time. Yesterday, we presented the new Innovation Awards to chapters of The ALS Association that are actively developing and implementing new ideas and/or methods to make an impact.

Below are the winners and a brief description of their award-winning programs:

The Indiana Chapter and their Nutritional Supplement Program – By implementing a nutritional supplement program, the chapter addresses compromised nutrition leading to weight loss as a common and significant problem for those with ALS. The chapter developed partnerships with several companies and organizations to provide quality products and services, as well as education on the impact of a high caloric, high protein diet to help sustain weight and energy for people with ALS.

The Western Pennsylvania Chapter and their Powerful Tools for Caregivers Program – While interactive, this program is also a structured class led by two certified trainers. Care Services staff provide the class to caregivers (at no charge) who live within the chapter’s 31-county service area. This six-week class meets on Saturdays at the chapter office, with a different topic offered each week.  The program is designed to provide caregivers with the tools they need to increase their self-care and bolster their confidence to handle difficult situations, emotions and decisions. 

The St. Louis Regional Chapter and their and their Gold Star Partner Program – The chapter created a Gold Star Partner Program that creates cross-marketing opportunities to connect chosen community partners’ constituents and networks to the chapter’s work.  A “toolkit” is sent to all Gold Star participants after they have completed advanced training on ALS and the care of families living with the disease.  The toolkit contains, among other items, a fact sheet about ALS that can be shared with clients and included in marketing packets, an ALS partnership announcement for social media accounts, a social badge graphic to be included on the partner’s website, two sample articles about the chapter, and suggested media posts that can be used to promote the partnership between the agency and the chapter.  The toolkit has resulted in producing program allies whose brand associations strengthen the chapter’s community reach and standing.

The Rocky Mountain Chapter and their Learning Lab Program – The Learning Lab is a dedicated space within the chapter office designed and equipped with ALS-appropriate equipment and demonstration tools in a bedroom setting, much like in anyone’s home. The room consists of state-of-the-art equipment on which to demonstrate to people with ALS, family members, caregivers, and ALS professionals the correct use of most items they will need throughout the progression of the disease.  Those who visit the Learning Lab benefit from discussions with staff that often result in identifying the need for additional equipment that will help with other challenges and issues they are facing.

The Golden West Chapter and The Wheel – The chapter has embraced  the “full-mission” perspective and created a tool that visually expresses the interconnected nature of our three mission priorities:  Research, Care Services, and Public Policy. The Wheel is an infographic used to clearly communicate that each individual element on the continuum is part of an integrated and interdependent system. It demonstrates that everything The Association does is designed to advance the search for effective treatments and a cure for ALS.  The chapter uses this graphic frequently, in print, on their website and during chapter programs and presentations.  This infographic helps in distinguishing our organization and shares our key strength – we are fighting ALS on all fronts.  

Congratulations to these chapters for creating these programs that support our mission!

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