Puentes de Esperanza | Health Navigators
2020 brought many challenges to the entire world. Across our organization we have discovered new ways to communicate and support our clients. Hoyleton seized the opportunity to show our clients they are not alone, regardless of current circumstances. The Puentes de Esperanza staff was remarkable in responding to the changes and moved forward to assist those in need during these unprecedented times.
This year, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) piloted a program to assist those in minority and underserved communities across the state. The Public Health and Health Navigator Project is funded by the State of Illinois and is segmented by regions as defined by COVID-19 guidelines. Puentes de Esperanza serves several minority and underserved communities in the Region 4 area. There are several key objectives for the program including, but not limited to healthy lifestyle education, COVID-19 safety, assisting with communication with health care providers where there may be a language barrier or income-related challenges.
Funding from the Health Navigator program allowed 25 program participants from the Hispanic community to partner with the Puentes de Esperanza team to provide health education and COVID-19 related needs to the Spanish speaking community. While these Health Navigators are not directly employed by Puentes de Esperanza, they do work very closely with our team member Jovany Otero, one of Hoyleton/Puentes de Esperanza’s Bi-lingual Family and Community Advocates.
Through the Health Navigator program, Puentes de Esperanza has been able to reach over 3000 individuals in the Region 4 area alone. These Navigators took part in distributing PPE in rural areas and during food drives. Participants have also developed videos and flyers for distribution throughout the community. The Navigators have provided information and activities beyond COVID-19 prevention and have shared information about living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining mental health.
Erika Hernandez, one of the Navigators states “…I am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate and be part of a team in which I can contribute all my knowledge and, at the same time, help people within our community. Personally, I feel that it helps me to stay informed of what is happening as well as in the aspect of mental and emotional health, which I can use for the well-being of my family.”
It is through partnerships such as the one we have with IDHS and the Pandemic Health Navigators that we are able to continue serving those in our community and work toward equal and fair access to services across the local community and state.
For more information on Puentes de Esperanza or Hoyleton, please visit us online at hoyleton.org
Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services.