Prosper Waco: Get to know your Community Health Worker

By Christina Helmick

Do you live in one of the following zip codes: 76704, 76705, 76706 or 76707? Did you know that you have a certified Community Health Worker who is dedicated to helping you navigate the healthcare system and focused on connecting you to local resources? Did we mention it is all for free?

The McLennan County Community Health Worker Initiative, referred to as CHW, is a program led by the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District to connect individuals in Waco’s most high-need areas to healthcare information and resources. This program was made possible through generous funding by Episcopal Health Foundation and is in partnership with Providence Healthcare Network, Baylor Scott & White-Hillcrest and Family Health Center. There are three CHWs per high-need zip code, which totals 12 CHWs for Waco!

Pictured above are a group of Waco’s Community Health Workers.

Since CHWs are individuals who are from, work in and understand the community they represent, I thought I would take the opportunity to do a Q&A with two CHWs so people can get to know who they are and how to get in touch with them! The Q&A features Domonique Corsey, a CHW for the East Waco community, and Christy Perkins, a CHW for the North Waco community!

Q: Why do you think the CHW initiative is important for our community?

Domonique: The CHW initiative is good for the Waco community because as community members, we have the opportunity to be the voice for the voiceless. The Waco community needs to see that they have people who are there for them through every circumstance. We as Community Health Workers advocate, manage, facilitate, encourage, educate and build—just to name a few! Our tasks vary from distributing brochures with educational information in relevant neighborhoods to helping an elderly woman check her glucose levels. CHWs also work with individuals or groups to educate them on preventable diseases like diabetes or heart disease.

Christy: The CHW program is important to our community for many reasons. This program supplies Waco’s most high-need communities with CHWs who will advocate on behalf of clients’ overall needs with true intent to produce a positive change. One of the most important roles of a Community Health Worker is to build trusting relationships with their clients. One way we are able to do that is by meeting them in a comfortable setting. By meeting people where they are in life and without judgment, it gives clients someone who they can trust and discuss issues with. CHWs help to set and reach goals according to their individual needs. The CHWs help to access resources while educating clients on how to navigate resources self-sufficiently.

Q: Why did you apply to become a Community Health Worker?

Domonique: Once I heard of the CHW initiative, I knew it was for me because of my passion for the community. I am passionate about being a helping hand and seeing others succeed. To me it’s very important to be able to help others thrive. I love learning while I work and I truly enjoy what I do as a CHW—who doesn’t want that!

Christy: I applied to become a CHW because I have a passion for advocacy. I have a desire to raise awareness for advocacy and resources available to people. I didn’t know where to start and this opportunity gave me access to step into that role. I have a heart for people and want to assist them in pushing past adversity and living their best lives.

Q: Since you started working at a Community Health Worker, what have you seen as the biggest health-related needs in your community?

Domonique: In East Waco, the biggest needs range from employment, affordable housing, and various healthcare needs, especially mental health. When you drive around East Waco, you see so many people walking around ill and homeless. Another need I see is the connection with our youth. Our community needs low-cost or free programs that can enrich our young people’s lives.  I also see many exterior structures that need repair, such as stop signs and sidewalks.

Christy: In North Waco, one of the greatest needs is providing resources to the homeless. There is overpopulation in the shelters in our community. Many of our homeless population have health issues and most often mental health issues. They are subject to harsh weather and struggle to provide the necessities to live day-to-day. The needs are many and the access to them is limited for a number of reasons. Other needs I see are childcare and rental assistance! Some barriers to resources in the North Waco community are simply the lack of knowledge of the available resources available and language.

Check out the Prosper Waco’s June monthly television on the City’s cable channel, which highlights how CHWs are using data to target interventions and programs!

If you are looking to get connected to your Community Health Worker, you can call the CHW coordinator, Paula Solano, at the Health District! Her phone number is 254-750-5631. She will pair you with your Community Health Worker.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District is looking for THREE more CHWs for the 76705, 76706 and 76707 community! Ideally, the CHWs would be bilingual and/or male. If you know of someone who would make a great CHW, call Paula Solano (254-750-5631).

Collaborative efforts like the CHW initiative are working to address the community’s goals around access to care, including increasing the percentage of individuals who have health insurance and decreasing the use of the emergency room as a source of primary care. To learn more about initiative efforts like the CHW, visit the Prosper Waco website.


Christina Helmick is the director of communication at Prosper Waco. She is a recent graduate of Baylor University with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations & New Media. Originally she is from Washington, D.C., but has stayed in Waco post-graduation.  She is an active mentor at J.H. Hines Elementary School, enjoys spending time with her family and watching Baylor football. Sic ’em Bears!

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

Give it a Spin: Why I love the Spin Connection

By Micah Weaver

As my friend and I drove up Franklin, away from Valley Mills, Rosa’s, and Chick-fil-A, I saw a gathering of people dancing and jumping in a building with the sign “Spin Connection” on it. A year into my audio engineering degree at McLennan Community College, I love music but have very little knowledge of the music scene in Waco. What’s this little shop about?  I stopped by the next day and had a talk with the owner.

I freakin’ love Spin Connection! Tucked away in a non-descript strip center at 3703 Franklin Ave., it is a hidden treasure in Waco. They offer great vinyl, profound knowledge about vinyl and music in general, and a great experience in a family-owned store. They also host exciting concerts for young people in the community. I haven’t found or heard of another business in Waco doing anything like it.

The feeling that you’ve stumbled onto both history and a new experience overwhelms you the moment you walk in.  I couldn’t stop searching through the huge collection of music at Spin Connection, and couldn’t believe all the different music available. There’s over 150 years of music history held within its walls! The analog music connects you with incredible events and performers from history such as Woodstock and Frank Sinatra, as well as iconic moments of the last couple of decades such as Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and the One O’Clock Lab Band. I love all those artists and their music. It’s music I jam to while driving with my friends and hanging out. To me, Spin Connection feels like a music lovers’ clubhouse (or garage).

The first major benefit of getting to know Spin Connection is getting to know the owner, Stan Wojciechowski. (Click here to hear how to pronounce his name.)  Whether he’s helping you with your Lana Del Rey album or giving you a history lesson about Pink Floyd, interacting with Mr. Wojciechowski gives you a warm feeling.  He makes you believe that everyone is accepted in Spin Connection and in the Waco music scene. He makes you feel like it’s never too soon or too late to chase your passions, realize your visions and help the community. Mr. Wojciechowski gave me incredibly smart, invaluable tips and pieces of wisdom through our conversation.  It’s always awesome to stop by and chat.

Mr. Wojciechowski describes his love of classic rock and jazz passionately. That’s a testament to the genre(s) he listened to in his late teens and into adulthood. He’s an avid indie, classical and old-school swing fan. We vibed really well over our mutual tastes in music. Overall, he’s a fan of creativity and uniqueness. [Clip of Mr. W. talking about weird unique eclectic stuff].

Music transports you through time. Every time I find a song I love, it’s usually a combination of the setting I’m in, and the people I am with that can make or break a song for me. Mr. Wojciechowski understands that the experiences we have through music transcend genre.  They connect people and cultures.  [Clip of Mr. W. being inspiring and saying deep stuff about music] Spin Connection is an important pillar in Waco’s community.  It is a musical place filled with  integrity, history, and passion.

Mr. Wojciechowski gave me a crash course in how to check a vinyl album record for scratches, marks, chips and dings.  He gave me tips on buying records from third parties, and taught me how the record physically plays (the needle falls into the groove and there’s a series of microscopic bumps inside each and every groove that the playhead needle scrapes as it goes around the record). If you have questions about records, record equipment or a particular album, you can bring it in to be inspected.

Spin Connection also supports local music by hosting live in-store concerts including local bands I love like The Doubting Thieves, The Morticians and The Pitchforks (Check them out).  Local bands and people like Mr.Wojciechowski make Waco what it is today.

Spin Connection has incredible sales and discounts.  They buy back certain “Special” items of interest. They send out alerts on Facebook and Twitter asking about people’s favorite albums. Following the Twitter and requesting your favorite song or album is a great way to show your support of music and local businesses. I highly recommend following them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  I do and it’s been an incredible resource to know what new things they have in, what sales they have going on (Awaken My Love), and when the concerts are gonna happen (Par-tay). All the Deets!

Spin Connection is Mr. Wojciechowski’s legacy. It means a lot to him, his wife, and to many others that are infatuated with music and dedicate their lives to supporting music in Waco. His store gives young adults in Waco somewhere to sing, dance and discover new awesome music.  It also gives adults somewhere to explore their musical youth. Spin Connection is growing an awesome community of music loving maniacs in Waco.  Come join the party!


Micah Weaver is a die hard Wacoan of 21 years.  He is studying Mass Communications at McLennan Community College. While at MCC he Studied Audio Engineering and has completed his A.A.S. in Audio Engineering Studies, as well as a General Academic Associate Degree. He plans of transfer to Texas State in the Fall to pursue his Bachelor’s and Masters in Mass Communication with a focus in Electronic Digital Media.  He loves music, video games, Tex-Mex, and Youtube.  He enjoys learning and introspection and wants be an influential voice for his generation.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.