As we kick off the 10th year of the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, I am reminded and encouraged of the incredible impact the SOAR initiative has on individual lives and communities. I get goosebumps when I hear about the ways that SOAR spreads like a good pollinator.
Through a wonderful partnership with the Grand Challenges of Social Work, schools of social work are integrating the SOAR Online Course into their curriculum and establishing direct SOAR experience in their field placements. Students are graduating with knowledge and experience they can take to whatever position they might pursue. It is exciting to know that SOAR expertise is part of their resume.
Our wonderful State and Local Leads sometimes move on to other positions. They are strong and talented leaders and are promoted to new roles. However, we hear time and again how they are taking the importance of SOAR with them. Their influence ranges from expanding SOAR into new special populations to ensuring that medical records departments know how important expedited access to records is to the disability determination process.
Experienced SOAR caseworkers have moved across the country for new SOAR-related job opportunities and individuals who were involved years ago are coming back to SOAR because the passion for this work rarely fades.
With SOAR, we are striving to maximize income supports through benefits and employment in order to stabilize housing and enhance recovery. We do that through our network of nearly 25,000 people, over 6,000 of whom have successfully completed the SOAR Online Course. This incredible network has served 71,705 people with their SSI/SSDI applications and appeals.
The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center supports this great work with on-site and virtual technical assistance, webinars, issue briefs, and a robust library of tools and resources on the SOARWorks website. The SOAR Online Course, with its unique practice case component, and the outcomes tracking support through the Online Application Tracking (OAT) program have helped make the incredible growth of SOAR possible.
The need remains, the work is ongoing, and the impact of SOAR continues to spread.