Calfresh and Medical act as a safety net by helping families achieve financial stability and healthy living. As a bilingual service navigator, I educate individuals and families and encourage them to make informed decisions about the resources and services available in the community. Part of my role also involves advocating for clients by establishing and strengthening relationships with other organizations. I serve culturally diverse clients that experience many barriers, including language access. And every outreach opportunity I get to make an impact, whether at a shelter, a school site, or a public event brings me joy.
The participant is a Spanish speaker, a single mom with a 4-year-old child, and we had the opportunity to meet them during a Health Fair in Napa. I introduced her to Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa, and the services and resources we offer. After briefly explaining to her about the Calfresh program, I screened her, and she qualified to apply for benefits. Although they were already receiving WIC benefits, she told me that she was concerned that her son was soon turning the maximum age required to remain in the program. And even though they were getting child support, after paying for rent and utilities, there was not enough left for other needs. And due to the pandemic and inflation, it was challenging for her to find affordable clothing for her child. I provided them with flyers, granola bars, and fruit while referring her to another organization that could give them free clothing and supplies. Since then, we have been assisting her with her application and renewal process and keeping her connected with other community resources. According to her, we have been a great support and a blessing in her life.
Overall, I've learned that addressing client needs is a matter of effective community outreach. Facilitating access to information through engagement and outreach materials may seem simple. But improving the quality of life of target populations takes time and care. Building trust and collaborating along with team members and other CBOs is an ongoing effort, and I can’t wait to keep spreading joy everywhere I go!