Mid-Service Year Reflections: My favorite AmeriCorps memory so far…

By Melissa Taylor, Community HealthCorps Navigator at Salud Family Health Centers

One of my favorite aspects of serving with Community HealthCorps is that, in addition to helping underserved patients improve healthcare outcomes, I am able to participate in meaningful and interesting service projects with different organizations. Recently, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the American Diabetes Association Expo at the Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. This was a very valuable and educational experience because many of the patients I work with at Salud Family Health Centers have diabetes and the number of people with diabetes throughout the United States continues to increase every year.

With diabetes costing the healthcare system an immense amount of money annually and afflicting millions of Americans (and many of the Salud patients), I took advantage of this opportunity to learn about the various organizations and products out there to help diabetics manage this disease. I was amazed at how many nutrition and exercise products exist to help diabetic patients, but also deterred at inaccessibility to the Salud patient population due to high cost.

I served as a Youth Area Volunteer and spent the day educating children about diabetes and the importance of eating healthy and exercising. I was amazed at how much the kids wanted to learn about diabetes and how to make healthy choices now so that they could incorporate healthy habits early on. Although there were many expensive nutrition and exercise products featured at the Expo, I couldn’t help but feel that by providing education to the youth at the Expo was the most effective (and cheapest)  long-term solution for preventing diabetes in the future, but planting the seed for a healthy lifestyle.

Did you know...

Over ten thousand health center patients have been served by Community HealthCorps Navigators since August 2012 within the health issue of diabetes.  Additionally, 15,409 health center patients have received Nutrition Counseling/Education by Navigators too!

About Community HealthCorps

Founded in 1995 by the National Association of Community Health Centers, Community HealthCorps is the largest health-focused, national AmeriCorps program that promotes health care for America's underserved, while developing tomorrow's health care workforce. The mission of the Community HealthCorps is to improve health care access and enhance workforce development for community health centers through national service programs. The vision of Community HealthCorps is to become a national service pipeline for careers in community health centers that is improving access to necessary primary and preventative care services for the medically underserved. For the program year 2013-2014, 500 Community HealthCorps Members will serve full-time through nearly 40 partner organizations and three affiliate organizations at more than 300 delivery sites across 17 states, and the District of Columbia. Community HealthCorps Members (through AmeriCorps) perform a variety of activities associated with health services and programs for patients and community, often by functioning as community health workers (CHWs).
This entry was posted in America, AmeriCorps, at-risk, CDC, child, Cholesterol, Community, Community Health Center, community healthcorps, diabetes, disease, food, health, Health Center, health department, health fair, healthcorps, high school, national service, Nonprofit, nutrition, obesity, philanthropy, prepare, Prevention, school, service, Social work, teach, vision, volunteer, work, youth and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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