Listen to Gaby's Story:
Hello, My name is Gaby and this is my story about working with the Latino community in Wisconsin. I would like to share a little bit about what I am doing with Planned Parenthood and CCmáS, with all of you. I would like to share about my experience being a health promoter and the impact this program has had on my professional and personal life. I will share my ideas and some personal thoughts of mine with you all. I respect that we all have different ideas and I respect your thoughts.
First, CCmáS came to me through a home health party with my family. My mother-in-law invited us to her house and extended an invitation for the home health party in which she said very important information would be shared with us. The information they shared with us about sex education, family values and advocacy really resonated with me, especially when they talked about family values. She gave me information about contraceptives and also helped me with the money they gave us so that we could buy food for the gathering.
I had a lot of fun at that home health party, and we loved the confianza that the Health Promoter brought. And who would have known that from this home health party, a beautiful relationship would be formed with that Health Promoter?
The Home Health Party definitely helped me with my personal growth and to keep moving forward. The connection I made both with the program CCmáS and with the Health Promoter was incredible.
That is how the CCmáS program came to me.
After that, one of the more experienced Health Promoters saw one of the assets that I had was that I knew a lot of people. She spoke to me about the opportunity to work as a health promoter and asked about my experience at the home health party. I knew the message [of CCmáS] was powerful and that we could bring that message to other people I knew. This was one of the main reasons why I made the decision to join CCmáS as a Health Promoter. This was an opportunity I wanted to take advantage of to continue moving forward professionally.
Since making the decision to be a Health Promoter, I have taken information from the modules and trainings to begin my career as a health promoter. That way I could also continue to help the people in my community. I took part in a year-long training in order to be a health promoter. I was at a point in my life where I was looking for new opportunities.
The impact we have made as health promoters since I began doing home health parties has been huge each time we have a home health party with different community members. It is always different and the most important thing is that everyone learns something new.
In fact, each time I read the modules, I learn something new.
One of my favorites is module one, which talks about family values and the different stages of life, which I feel is very important. Module one speaks about values, which is something very important, and also communication within the family. It is very interesting to me when families do not share the same values as before such as those of their grandparents, and how they have changed makes me reflect and realize that times have changed a lot. I feel that communication is extremely important because values are key to having a successful life. I feel that some communication barriers can be misunderstandings because of a lack of communication. I always find values important as well as the role of the Latino Man and the Latina Women.
With my family, my husband and I wanted to break down certain barriers and certain things, such as how we were raised. I also feel that the time one spends with their family is definitely important. It is something which I have learned personally. I feel that the way times and generations have changed is something of extreme importance. For example, I know before in my family, men did not help their partner with the baby very much and nowadays you can see men helping more and even changing diapers.
Perhaps, at least in my experience with my family, my partner helps me do certain things that were not viewed as acceptable in the past. But we chose to tear down those barriers to make sure I had that support as a woman and my husband as a man. I feel that it is something we are doing together. Working as a team and helping one another.
For me, in my personal life, the examples of this are that we have a son and my husband helps me to, for example, change his diaper. I know before, in our family, the man would not help the woman with these specific things. I share this respect for the fact that everyone can do what we consider to be the best for our families.
I come back again to communication being key, especially in the home. In order to keep me from being tired all of the time, my husband helps me, or I help him if he needs something. It is of utmost importance. If I need to change the diaper, if we need to do some work on the house, we work together, as a team. Here we
are not about that “because he is a man he will do this…Or because I am a woman I will do this.” We, in our family, and part of my story, is that it does not matter if you are man or woman, we will do things equally.
For example, if there is snow to shovel, I do not always wait for him to do it, I help him as well. It is all about working as a team and having that communication so that there can be that balance for us to feel like we are both doing well and we do not feel like one is doing more than the other. It is there that conflicts and those unnecessary fights come, when there is a lack of communication.
Communication is key in personal and professional settings. We as health promoters also use communication with our communities because we try to understand them and we try to provide support and advice, where communication is definitely key.
This project is called “Cuentos de Confianza” and confianza is definitely key in the work we do as health promoters because people in our community see us and confide in us. Perhaps they share personal things with us because they feel comfortable and they identify with us in a certain way and that's why they share with us, from experiences with sex to family problems. Now, I feel that confianza is something that is created over time.
Confianza is of the utmost importance not just in our professional work but also in our personal lives. It is something which does not happen from one day to another. It takes time. I feel that to create confianza, I come back to the same thing, we need that communication and those values so that it can be established. After these home health parties, I feel the confianza that others have in me and the information I am sharing, which makes me feel more confident. Also, the relationship that is there after the home health party ends is where people can communicate with us to ask more questions or call to ask for advice.
That is something I really like about my experience, in addition to everything I am learning. I feel that it is important for our community to know that because, as I mentioned, each module is different, ranging from contraceptives to resources that are here in Milwaukee. I also feel that it is important that we continue offering home health parties because this information is new to a lot of people. Not only for us, but also so that we can guide our children on the right path with adequate information. Our children and grandchildren are the new generation. In our Latino culture, those topics of sex and contraceptives can be sensitive subjects. But they are part of our lives.
Sex lives are part of us and we must accept this, be more open to it, and feel more comfortable speaking to one another about our sex lives. As I mentioned, it is something which is part of life. The home health parties and the modules help us in a way to understand our Latino culture and to see how we can feel more comfortable speaking about these topics, which can be very sensitive.
Being a health promoter is something I enjoy doing, it is something I plan on doing long term so that I can keep helping the community and making sure this information gets to our Latino community. I feel that there is still much to do, and in a way, this helps us to improve and bring a good message to our community.
That is something good that we also have to continue in that same relationship long term. This is a little bit about what I do, a little about what I have lived, having these conversations, and how they too have changed me. Yes, that is a little bit.
I know what awaits me long term as a health promoter is that I will continue learning more.