Friday, June 29, 2012

Lead Poisoning: An Education and Test of Health

A warm, healthy breakfast; a video; and doctors-- a unique picture on Monday morning here at the Chavez Center. But all was for an important cause-- lead poisoning education.  

We held a workshop outlining the dangers of lead poisoning and the importance of protecting our health and well-being. Since we have added a lot of new clients at the Chavez Center, this particular health lesson was eye-opening. They learned about the symptoms, ways to prevent lead poisoning, and what to do if you have it. Construction workers were awed by the many unexpected ways they could get lead poisoning. Even our computer students were surprised to learn that computer parts can also have lead!

 Why stop with just education though? Phlebotomy students were brought in to test our members and practice their skills as well. Twenty-Three of our members and community residents were tested for lead poisoning as part of the workshop, so they could get treatment if needed. For one man, the test was a challenge as anxiety gripped him. With the encouraging teasing from other members, he snuck in as the last of the twenty-three, and his peers cheered for him when he was done.

The hope is to educate our clients about hidden health risks and help them find ways to stay safe and keep their families safe in the future. Even the doctor from OSHA was surprise by the need for this sort of education in the community. 

We would like to especially thank the Community Wellness and Prevention Program, Carrington College and OSHA.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Antonio's Story of Struggle, Story of Survival, Story of Success

Day Labor member Antonio rarely gets hired for the jobs he loves. His slow, stumbling words and older appearance quickly causes employers to hesitate calling on him for precise tiling work. What they don’t know is that Antonio suffered several strokes that put him here.

In his time with the Day Labor Program, Antonio has found the support of the members as he suffered and underwent recovery. The strokes left him unable to walk and talk. As someone whose expertise relies heavily on physical ability, this was a true struggle for Antonio. He worked diligently for months to rehabilitate and to relearn these basic skills.

Today, he is able to get around easily, although a little more slowly. And today we ask ourselves where would Antonio have gone if he hadn’t been with us, and what others might be going through this too? While the answers are scary, we are just thankful that Antonio found the support and empowerment he needed.

At the center Antonio is among the most social and compassionate members even though he recognizes that his speech and actions lag. Because of this seemingly clumsy motion, many people are reluctant to hire his highly-regarded expertise, even though his talents have not suffered one bit!

But with enough hard work and dedication, it’s only a matter of time before opportunity will come knocking. In July Antonio as he was given the chance to do the work that is near and dear to his heart. As a skilled worker with a true passion for working with tile, stone, granite and marble Antonio was very excited to accept this job assignment. His work was impeccable as his excitement for the job carried him through.