I am really exhausted but I felt that my second blog should be about a wonderful experience that I had today. Dr. Linda Garner from nursing and I will be teaching a community health worker course in the spring semester. As part of our training we attended a state meeting to talk about curriculum and to meet the advisory committee. Anyone that has been to these types of meetings knows that these are not usually the most dynamic! Sometimes you feel like you want to pull out your eyeballs and stick them in your ears. Sometimes you feel like it is a complete waste of your time.
Today was not one of those days!
We were surrounded by people who are not afraid to feel empathy and compassion for their fellow Missourians. They are all instructors of community health worker courses. In case you don't know what a community health worker is, I'm providing some information here directly from the Department of Health and Senior services website:
Community Health Workers (CHW) are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of and/or have a close understanding of the communities served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.
Linda and I were both so pleased to hear the passion with which these people spoke about how they are helping to impact people in their communities by training these advocates. It was so refreshing to listen to stories of direct human impact on another human in a positive way. In the afternoon session we heard directly from community health workers some very touching stories about how they are improving lives one at a time. There was one gentleman that was mentioned that had been homeless and was ill. Through the help of his community health worker he was able to get the medical attention that he needed and a place to live so that he was no longer living on the street. His community health worker was also able to get help for him regarding his alcohol addiction. These are people who are doing it because they feel they want to serve their communities. We spoke with one of the community health workers after the meeting and her passion brought tears to my eyes. She said she likes being a community health worker because she likes to help others and it makes her happy to know that she can have a positive effect on somebody who really needs someone to be there for them.
It was a good day. I was reminded that humanity is not lost, that we still can love and care for our fellow human beings and thrive as a community if we simply remember to actively care about our neighbors.
Oh,and I got to talk to Linda which is always wonderful because she is super cool, and I got to eat Flips chocolate covered pretzels.