Esperanza Community Housing’s Health Program’s vision in the mid 1990’s was that in the absence of a responsive health network in underserved areas, such as in the Maple/Adams-Hoover/Adams community of South Central Los Angeles where Esperanza is actively involved, there could be an indigenous, grass-roots leadership developed to guide the community to health. Esperanza holds the belief that good health and access to quality healthcare are fundamental human rights, and that these rights can be translated into action through a well-developed assembly of community health leaders.
Irma Avila graduated from the program in 2010 and now is a successful Community Health Promoter helping out her community.
My name is Irma Y. Avila; I am from Mexico City, mother and wife. I feel I have been a Health Promoter all my life, but what I didn’t know is that there was an official name that gave formality to what I love to do; which is to help my community. As a member of the committee of parents from children’s school, Guisella Gutierrez, school coordinator told me that she had been watching me and that she knew a place called Esperanza Community Housing Corporation where I could apply and be trained to continue helping my community in a more effective way.
It was October of 2009, the last day to apply, I arrive at the Esperanza offices, and while filling out the application I felt the good vibes and the confidence of being in the right place. I was interviewed and shortly after, and my place was confirmed for Class of 2010. Another sign that I was in the right place, was the fact that the first class began on Monday, January 11; my 45th birthday. During the training, I got to know other Promotoras from Esperanza and my admiration for them grew and the desire of one day be like them too. Norma with patience and wisdom knew how to lead me. Tips from all facilitators made it possible for me to discover another aspect in my life. When I graduated, Arizbe Garcia helped me build my resume with all the patience and love she always brings to everyone who approaches her. Thanks to that I was accepted to do my internship at SoCalCosh, where I was employed, and while at the same time I was volunteering for IDEPSCA (Istitute of Popular Education of Southern California). With all the experience acquired, I then apply for a position at Best Start LA Metro. I was accepted to work in a significant project focusing on the Los Angeles area where I live. I thank each and every one at Esperanza for their patience and wisdom that contributed to my development. Thanks to Esperanza I have all the tools I need to continue in doing something that I love and keep discovering new things that benefit my community. I feel that in the last year of my life I have achieved many important things that have made me feel proud as a mother, wife and as a professional in the area of Community Health!” – Irma Y. Avila Community Health Promoter.