Hi, my name is Jeanne Holfield and I work as a Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS) and a Community Health Worker (CHW) for Meeker-McLeod-Sibley Community Health Services.
In January 2019 I had just finished up the online portion of the course to become a CHW. The last week of this training was spent in-person doing a Maternal Child Health class taught by Amanda Wasielewski. At the end of 2020, I was invited to be a Teacher’s Assistant with Amanda as she taught a new class, online, bringing my expertise as a Recovery Specialist to the class. All because of the support Minnesota CHWs get from the Minnesota CHW Alliance.
WOW! First, I was honored to be asked, and second, a bit scared, as this was out of my comfort zone. What do I know about helping to teach a class? Then I stepped back and realized it’s what I do in my job as a CHW/PRS on a daily basis (teach and share my experience). I knew the curriculum as I’d already completed the class, and I certainly know all about recovery, being a woman in long-term recovery. The “Mothers for Recovery” aspect was added to the course I had already taken. The program is designed to prepare CHWs and PSS (Peer Support Specialists) to work with mothers in recovery. What a wonderful idea! I had the privilege of working with Amanda and nine wonderful women who wanted to learn more about pregnant and parenting women and how to support their recovery from substance use.
The course ran from January 11th, 2021 through February 12th, 2021 (five weeks) for the students with online Zoom classes every Wednesday that lasted an hour and a half. I was able to share my experience as well as supply the students with informational resources for substance use. I was also given the great honor of grading student’s work, which was humbling to read their thoughts on the assignments. This is just one of the great opportunities for CHWs to share what they know, as well as, increase our own knowledge base. I even picked up some new information being in the class again. Thank you for this great opportunity to be a part of something wonderful, Amanda and the Minnesota CHW Alliance.
-Jeanne Holfield, CHW/PRS
Thank you Jeanne for sharing your story and for your dedication to the Alliance!