I have worked at Volunteers of America MN/WIS for 15 years and I absolutely love it! The diverse population I serve face many health and social disparities in their lives and may need support to remain living independently. I have always been interested in health and nutrition and found that this area could be addressed more in the social services we provided. Over the years, I have led several health groups focusing on health improvement. When I came to learn about community health work, I knew this was something I had to be a part of. I looked into what our agency needed to be able to have CHWs on staff and started talking people to get grants to fund the new program. Once funding was achieved, I played a large role in implementation. We hired 2 CHWs and I supervised them. When the opportunity came up, I decided to take the CHW courses myself so I could also help people as a CHW. I very much enjoyed learning how to help people be in control of their conditions and their lives. The education was a great addition to my social service background. I just love meeting people where they are at and helping them make different choices if they choose to, with their health.
Learning about the CHW field is very exciting to me. I believe that not everything fits in the same box and there has to be different approaches to education in the health care systems. I would like to share what I have learned with individuals and agencies and them with me. I would like to make more connections with others in the same field. I would also like to develop new ways to grow the CHW field and make them happen.
As CHWs, we are very aware of the health care disparities. Let’s work together to solve them.