As we move through the COVID-19 pandemic, more lives continue to be affected. Yes, we have made great strides as a country in developing and shipping vaccines, but that resource is not available to anyone. More specifically, Latino immigrants. That is where MALVEC and our workers come in. We have the highest responsibility to provide our people and our community with the proper resources they need during these difficult times. That work, however, cannot be done without the help of our community health workers.
Madelín Martínez is a person who knows what it is to fight. Growing up in El Salvador, she came to the United States when she was just a teenager. Madelín saw what it was like to be an immigrant, and what came with that experience was not always good. “I grew up in El Salvador and came here as a teenager, so right there there was one of the biggest things that influenced my life, just the experience of being an immigrant, not having much access to things that my peers had access to. ”.
Given that Madelín had been able to look through the lens of an immigrant, she knew the difficulties that this entailed. This was a great influence for Madelín to enter the labor field in which she finds herself today, “I feel that my mother was begging us to have basic care, that we needed to go to school, and I felt that this was wrong. I want to be a resource for the community and help connect families who don’t have access to health care with those who do.” Unfortunately, a commodity was not and still is not as easily accessible to Latino immigrants as it should be. With the work that Madelín has been doing in Baltimore County it has been nothing short of commendable and admirable.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Madelín has experienced countless times the amount of difficulties and struggles that many Latinos have had to face. The Latino demographic has been hit, if not the hardest, then one of the hardest during the pandemic. Madelín discovered one of the main reasons for this: “I think that when it comes to the effects that COVID-19 has had on our population, it has more to do with not having access to all the assistance that was available. for everyone else, especially for immigrant families.” Regardless of this setback, that didn’t stop Madelín from guiding Latinos in the right direction and providing them with the necessary resources.
An immigrant herself, Madelín knows how critical it is for one of her clients to get the resources they need. In fact, it’s one of the most rewarding things about her job: “When we’re trying to connect someone to a resource that’s hard to find and finally find a place that can provide that resource, that’s very rewarding. Throughout the whole process sometimes I want to give up and I talk to the client, and I realize, you know what, they need it, let’s keep looking. I assure the client that we are going to keep calling, we are going to keep looking, and something has to open up; something has to go right. So we finally found that door, that crack in the wall that we can knock down and make a hole big enough for us to get through and get that care for that assistance for that family.”
What we do at MALVEC would not be possible without the work and determination of our community health workers, like Madelín. The work we do to make our community safer and better protected comes from a place of love and compassion. That is why all of us at MALVEC do the work we do, because we care about our people, and they matter.