LISTEN TO THE PODCAST ON COMMUNITY SERVICE COUNCIL
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This is the weekly Live United podcast highlights blog. I’m your host, Matthew Gleason. And today, our spotlight is on the Community Service Council—a proud Tulsa Area United Way partner agency.
Honestly, I think the Community Service Council is one of the best-kept secrets in Tulsa. So many people’s lives have been changed and saved because of programs like 2-1-1 Eastern Oklahoma. Anyone in the community who needs help to find social services, please call 2-1-1. Just dial those numbers, 2-1-1, and that will connect you to a person who can help you navigate to a stronger, safer, and healthier life.
To tell Community Service Council’s story, I’ve invited my good friend, Jeromee Scot, on the show. He serves as Community Service Council’s Chief Media and Community Engagement Officer.
You can learn all about the Community Service Council at csctulsa.org.
So join me in welcoming my friend, Jeromee Scot, to the podcast. Jeromee, let’s kick things off first with you telling us about yourself.
Jeromee: I was born and raised here in Tulsa. I love this town and always knew that I wanted to get into media of some kind. I realized that radio was not for me, and so the only other thing I could think of would be TV. Channel 6 had a producer opening for the morning show. I thought, I’ll take it, get in there and then work my way up. I never really understood what a producer did. The short answer to that is: everything. You’re the first one in and usually the last one out. You’re creating the show from scratch. It is your vision. And as somebody who really likes to be in control, that really stood out to me.
I produced the show for several years and eventually got promoted to the executive producer of the entire morning show, which was its own little challenge in its own way. I did that for six years. I would wake up at midnight, was in the newsroom by 1:30 in the morning, then back to sleep by noon. It was a challenge for sure, but I obviously have no regrets.
LIFE IN THE DAYLIGHT
Jeromee: Now that I’m working a regular shift, I’m finding it difficult to schedule things like doctor’s appointments and all those things I took for granted when I was working overnight. During the day when I worked in TV, I started volunteering with a few organizations in town, and one thing kind of led to another. And that’s how I got introduced to the Community Service Council.
I always said I would never leave Channel 6 or the TV news industry to go to an organization that wasn’t worth my time, and wouldn’t challenge me. And I found both of those things with the Community Service Council.
The Community Service Council is vast. It has a lot of reach, and as the media communications guy, my job is to go into each of these programs and find the stories to tell to the public. And so, just through that process, I learned about what the Community Service Council does. I’m constantly amazed. With the Tulsa Area United Way, we’re really able to expand our reach and make an impact in my hometown, which means so much to me.
SPOTLIGHT ON COMMUNITY SERVICE COUNCIL
Matthew: A lot of people have never heard of Community Service Council. And, sadly, a lot of people don’t know the amazing resource that is 2-1-1. Jeromee, tell people why you love Community Service Council so much and why they should love it so much, too.
Jerome: Well, I think I was one of those people, for sure, who had never heard about CSC before I joined. One of my challenges with this new role is I want to get the word out about the Community Service Council.
You always have mission statements for organizations, and we have one, but I describe Community Service Council as “We help people, and we help everyone.”
CSC has been around for 80 years, which is just incredible. You probably know about the work that the Community Service Council does, even if you don’t know about it. Community Service Council doesn’t have just one focus, and our focus is constantly changing.
First, we look at the needs in the community, and then we’ll put together plans or strategies to meet those needs. And so, over time, over the 80 years that we’ve served this community, our programs have changed. Our focus has changed, but our commitment to helping those in need has not ever changed.
WHO YA GONNA CALL?
I think most people know about 2-1-1. It’s that three-digit phone call that you can call at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have someone who will pick up the phone, answer any questions you have, and help connect you with resources for whatever you need.
I had heard about 2-1-1 for years, but I didn’t know that it was under the Community Service Council. And when I told my family that I was coming to CSC, just like everybody else, they said, “Oh, I’ve never heard of that. What do they do?”
When I told my mom I was going to work for CSC, she told me she had used 2-1-1 several times throughout the years. We come from a pretty poor background. A lot of people don’t know that I came from government housing. And so my mom used 2-1-1 over the years to learn about food bank information for our meals. To have that personal connection, for me, makes this even more fulfilling to continue that and keep that going.
One of the first things I did when I joined CSC was to listen to live 2-1-1 calls because I wanted to get a feel for what our call specialists deal with on a day-to-day basis.
I started in March 2020, right when the pandemic started. Most of the calls I listened to were pandemic-related. You get people who are having a conversation like we are and just want some information. You get people experiencing homelessness, too. One of the guys I listened to was calling from a homeless camp in Tulsa and was trying figure out how to get resources. 2-1-1 is doing incredible work and, again, that’s just one of many, many programs that we have.
We have our support services for veteran families group, which is separate from the VA, but they work specifically with homeless veterans. I’ve gone out with the SSVF team to deliver food to homeless veterans, to see the living conditions and the hotels they’re being put up in while they try to get them housing.
A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed a husband and wife, both are veterans who were homeless. They came to SSVF and now they have their own home. He started his own business, and so they went from the streets to this success story because of SSVF.
I can’t believe that in my 15 years of working in TV in this market I had never heard about the amazing work that’s happening at Community Service Council. And that’s why I decided to join Community Service Council because those stories need to be told. I’m honored to be able to do that.
Matthew: All right. As we do at the end of every episode, we ask our guest to explain why they live united. Take it away, Jeromee.
Jerome: Well, I don’t think that anyone in the City of Tulsa can do the fantastic things that we’re doing without the support of other organizations and of other people. Tulsa is a family. The Tulsa Area United Way is an example of that, with its 59 partner agencies.
I live united so that I don’t stand alone in a city like Tulsa, facing the challenges we face. I’m standing with the community. I’m standing united with Tulsans who want to make a difference and want to improve our town. I hope that we can continue the amazing work we’re doing and live united for many years to come.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST ON COMMUNITY SERVICE COUNCIL