Communities Rise and the Power of Listening

by Gilberto Zamora

Gilberto ZamoraWhen I started my job a couple of weeks ago, my friends and family wanted to learn more about HealthConnect One and I was excited to tell them, but I also wanted to wait until I had a better understanding of HC One and the work it supports. So I stayed quiet and focused on starting a new job, which is a multi-faceted process that includes learning copier passwords, refrigerator protocol and best lunch spots. But my favorite part of the ongoing orientation has been meeting one-on-one with HC One staff and getting to know them, their roles and what has brought them to this work. It is through these one-on-one’s that I am truly beginning to grasp how important HealthConnect One’s work is.

In meeting with program staff, I’ve learned about a young teenage mom who not only became a trained doula, but also became a leader in her community and has set-up trainings for doulas throughout the Southwest of the US. I am also learning how HC One is stepping up to the challenge of working with high-risk teen moms in foster care; I am listening to how community health workers have helped guide low-income families with infants in the NICU through complicated bureaucratic processes to help them access services. And most importantly, I am beginning to understand how community working together makes for healthier babies.

It is when I hear these stories that I am inspired to advocate for the work that doulas and community health workers are doing and to share the impact they are having. And while it’s important for me to reiterate these stories, it is more important that community health workers tell their own stories directly to their legislators on Capitol Hill. And this, I learned, is exactly what HealthConnect One wants to do through their CrowdRise campaign — raise enough funds to send community-based doulas and breastfeeding peer counselors throughout the US to Washington, DC in March 2014.

With this campaign, I know that as I learn how the thermostat works (or doesn’t) in our office, here is a chance for me and my friends, my family and my community to speak up, to contribute to and expand the understanding of a community health workers’ impact. Please follow these links to learn more about HealthConnect One and contribute to the CrowdRise campaign, and please SHARE!

Editor’s Note:  Gilberto Zamora is HealthConnect One’s new Development Coordinator, and we could not be more delighted to have him on the team. He is a writer, runner and music fan from California who brings over ten years’ experience in organizing programs, event planning, and supporting direct services to communities in need. He is also eagerly awaiting the arrival of his first nephew in 2014.

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