Do you remember when you found your passion?
Maria Alicia was 14, working at a summer job at a community center in central phoenix. One day, a mom came in pushing a stroller. She looked frazzled and her three young children were hot and crying.
But, when Maria Alicia greeted this young mom in Spanish, her whole face changed. She looked relieved.
Maria Alicia’s passion for helping others grew when she was given the opportunity to support preventative health programs in Arizona, 23 years ago. Born in Mexico, Marica Alicia grew up in Phoenix, and lived years under-resourced and without access to healthcare.
Because of that experience in her life, she has insight on barriers so many Latinos face in accessing the health care system:
- Language, especially confusing medical terms
- Providers and pamphlets they don’t identify with
- Dismissal of cultural norms, like home remedies
- Lack of transport, insurance, and prescriptions benefits
Even though Latinos make up a third of Arizona’s work force, about 27% of them live in under-resourced communities. That’s why Latinos here often struggle with illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
The urgent need to reach these communities became clear during the pandemic. Latinos nationwide were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19.
Our health educators come from the neighborhoods they serve. Bilingual and bi-cultural classes take place in schools, community centers, and apartment complexes where Latinos live. And they provide preventative health education, meals for seniors, and toothbrushes for children and their families.
Can you support what Advance is doing in Phoenix communities today? Please consider a gift today!