by Marissa Lee
While some say last words are the most impactful, sometimes initial gut responses are the most telling. Sitting down with two Community Health Worker students at San Manuel Gateway College in separate interviews, my first question was, “What led you to become a CHW?” Their responses spoke volumes about the character of the students enrolled in the Community Health Worker (CHW) 101 Basic Training at San Manuel Gateway College.
"I consider myself a Leader." Ingrid
A mother of five and part time mentor for mentally challenged in her community, Ingrid is a busy CHW student. Having worked with the mentally challenged in her community for over 15 years and raising a daughter with autism, Ingrid has a special heart for vulnerable people in her community.
She first heard about this CHW training when the school district called for leaders who were interested in working in the community. Due to her job, she almost missed the informational meeting, but after arriving late, she found herself assisting as a Spanish translator for the evening. Her inclination to step in and assist with the needs around her motivates her work in her community and her driving belief that she is a leader wherever she is. She said, “It just comes out naturally…if anyone needs my help, I just help. This is why I became a CHW… I love to help!”
Going back to school, homework has been the biggest challenge. But homework is worth it as the CHW training has opened her eyes to many issues in her community. Learning the psychology behind mental health and gaining a deeper understanding of the plight of teenage mothers, troubled teens, and prisoners has been the most interesting part of the training so far. As she looks to May when the CHW 101 training concludes, Ingrid’s final project focuses on the difficulties faced by undocumented workers.
After finishing the CHW training, Ingrid hopes to work in a medical setting – either in a hospital or clinic – specifically focusing on her passions of mental health and troubled youth.
"I have been a servant leader throughout my community."Earl
Earl’s life drastically changed after an injury ending a lengthy career with a water company doing construction. After his recovery, his wife encouraged him to work with their kids at school. A father of 5 children, he is motivated by his desire to see “all children succeed in what they do.” He soon found purpose in taking his role as a parent at home to working as a mentor with kids at the local elementary school. He has a special heart for youth lacking guidance or support at home, engaging with them at his local community center and at school. He also serves as the Vice President of San Bernardino’s African American Parent Advisory Council (AAPAC).
When working at the school district, he learned Loma Linda University Health was initiating a CHW training and was immediately interested. “I really liked Loma Linda so anything they have to do, I want to see what they are talking about.” Six months earlier, Earl had visited Loma Linda University Medical Center and was immediately inspired by the scriptures on the wall. Little did he know that he would soon be a student in the CHW Basic Training.
As a student in the Promotores Academy, Earl loves learning in the classroom. “You think you know it all, but you don’t.” Learning new dimensions of leadership has been the most interesting part of the curriculum for him. He is fueled to take what he is learning and implement it in his community. His final project focuses on leadership in the community as he implements a course on parent-to-parent leadership at his local community center.
After finishing his CHW training, Earl hopes to get a permanent job working in the community, doing home visits, empowering his community, and bringing them together… and he added, with a twinkle in his eye, maybe “Mayor… one day!”
These Profiles cover Participants of the Promotores Academy Community Health Worker (CHW) 101 course in Spring 2017