There is a grace to living in a community where we can see that our interactions with each other have positive results. The tie that binds us in community is simply caring for and about each other. In matters large and small. We see this in times of disaster like wildfires and COVID and we see this in the everyday activities of mentoring in schools or respecting each other on sidewalks, in stores, in the workplace.
At the Healthcare Foundation we are deeply grateful to be in this community where caring for each other is our part of our identity, a compass for living, a way of being. We thank you for your support and encouragement that allows the Healthcare Foundation to provide care for others through our mission to eliminate health inequities in northern Sonoma County.
I have the pleasure and privilege to work with a great group of wise and dedicated community volunteers as board members of the Healthcare Foundation. They are your neighbors, colleagues and friends. For twenty years these leaders, along with our talented staff, have guided the Foundation as its work has evolved in our community. All the while, the focus has been on caring for others, through our local hospital and health clinics, through impactful nonprofits on the front lines, and through you, our supporters and friends. Below you can read more about our recent 20th anniversary gala, a wonderful and wonderfully successful night of caring in action.
Caring is also the animating spirit behind our Mental Health Talent Pipeline scholarship awardees, who are dedicated to giving back to their communities by becoming local bilingual and bicultural mental health professionals. Below you can read our most recent spotlight on one of these remarkable students.
Finally, we report on a recent outing to Richmond with northern Sonoma County colleagues, an eye-opening tour of a community-led, community-designed park project that has kickstarted an inspired conversation about how best to develop health-improving community spaces right here in north county.
Symbols are always helpful to me, and I think of the simple act of holding a door open for another person. It is a statement of “please, you go first,” “you before me.” It is the preferential treatment that all religions encourage. It is a simple example of how we are with each other. We are grateful for how you care for others in our community. Thank you for leading the way.
Celebrate Our Future
As the date approached for our 20th anniversary Celebrate Our Future gala, alongside the increase in Delta variant cases around the country, the Healthcare Foundation staff and event committee met regularly to contemplate our options. In 2020, we held our first even virtual gala, which was wildly successful thanks to our very generous supporters. This year, however, we were looking forward to celebrating in person—but only if we could do so safely.
To achieve that goal, our team made the bold move of requiring every single person who attended, from guests, to caterers and performers, to submit proof of vaccination prior to the event. We began our outreach approximately one month before the celebration, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. People were more than happy to send in copies of their vaccination cards, and we received 100% verification from attendees several days before the event.
Meet Sonia Aguilar! Mental Health Talent Pipeline Scholarship Awardee
Sonia Aguilar has just entered her third year as a graduate student in University of San Francisco’s counseling psychology program, which means her course work is behind her. Now she embarks on a traineeship in the behavioral health access team of Sonoma County’s Department of Health Services. Just a few days before she is due to report to work, Sonia is full of anticipation, commitment, and gratitude.
“It’s been a very enriching and challenging two years,” she says. “This program has really opened up my eyes to the need in our community—especially the lack of access to mental healthcare, which can also be the root of so many other health issues.”
Guadalupe Navarro on the Evolution of Latino Service Providers’ Innovative Youth Promotor Model
Our region has weathered compounding crises in recent years, from wildfires to the current pandemic, which have exacerbated but also brought much needed attention to some glaring health inequities. Along with these disparities in quality of and access to healthcare, some effective interventions for addressing them have also been around and, indeed, have grown with the need. Cultivating and supporting such successful interventions has never been more urgent. There is a great need, in particular, to recognize, support and sustain the critical role of community health workers, also known as promotores de salud. Promotores come from the communities they serve as trained and trusted health messengers and navigators for northern Sonoma County’s Latinx residents otherwise facing many obstacles and challenges to healthcare information, access, and equity.
Recently, Guadalupe Navarro, executive director of Latino Service Providers (LSP), generously took some time to speak with us about how LSP has been evolving their own distinct program for Youth Promotores.
A Visit to Pogo Park
Too few are the opportunities to ride a zip line swing during work hours. But on one sunny Friday afternoon last month, it was more or less de rigueur, as Healthcare Foundation staff and a group of colleagues from several sister organizations serving northern Sonoma County gathered at a small but highly innovative neighborhood park in Richmond’s “Iron Triangle” for a remarkable tour.
Save the Date
2021 Wetzel Awards
Tuesday | December 7th
Join us via Zoom in honoring this year’s recipients of the Wetzel Community Leadership Award and the Spirit of Wetzel Award.
Community. Compassion. Equity.