The “1st year of life” celebration is very significant in Hispanic culture. It is a tremendous milestone to achieve. For that reason, family and friends are invited to come together to celebrate. Traditionally, the cake, the piñata, and the “Cumpleaños feliz” or “Las Mañanitas” songs are very important aspects that bring everyone together that day.

For the Salgado family, this celebration is even more important. Unfortunately, they lost their first baby at birth and suffered a second loss at 8 weeks of pregnancy, but Caleb is healthy and strong; he is smart and vivacious. He is one year old!

We have been able to provide support for the Salgado family and many others during this past year. We provide fundamental information and education on different topics including how to care for their sick children, safe sleep education, breastfeeding, birth control, and food pantry and clinic referrals.

As the Salgado’s Community Health worker, I worked with Caleb’s family to make sure he obtained his Medicaid card in order to receive his vaccines and regular doctor’s visits. We also made sure that Caleb received his Social Security number and birth certificate.

Many times, obtaining these documents is a huge strain on the family due to their incomplete understanding of how the processes work.

The Salgado family was not an exception. It took several months to get Caleb’s Medicaid card and many phone calls to Medicaid providers. Shortly thereafter, they received the baby’s Medicaid card in the mail. The same issues arose with the baby’s birth certificate. They didn’t realize they had to send the signed form with a copy of their passport, a stamped and self-addressed envelope, and a money order. This is a process that is very difficult for new or non-English speaking parents to understand and complete correctly. This is where Mother & Child Health Coalition is able to bridge those gaps through education and guidance.

The rewards for being a Community Health Worker are innumerable. The most important part is creating a long-lasting bond with all the families. They are always so grateful for the assistance we provide and always express how thankful they really are. I constantly am invited to “1st year celebrations,” baptisms, anniversaries, and more as a form of gratitude for all the support we provide.

Submitted by Marcela Metcalf, Lead Community Health Worker
Kansas City Healthy Start Initiative