The dust accumulating on Maria’s rug threatened the health of her three children and her mother, all of whom have asthma. She didn’t have a vacuum to clean her rug. Thanks to the Healthy Child Program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, Maria received a free vacuum three months ago and now vacuums everyday. Her mother and children’s asthma symptoms have dramatically declined. The health improvement is not only the result of a rug vacuumed daily, but also of relevant information Maria learned through the Community Health Promoters program at Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.

Aliria, a community health promoter of 5 years, learned of Maria’s case through a referral from St. John’s Child and Wellness Center. On her first visit, Aliria asked Maria what housekeeping cleaning products she used. When Maria listed off products like bleach and Pinesol, Aliria suggested that these strong smelling substances often worsen children’s health. Instead, Aliria recommended natural cleaning products that work just as well, like baking soda and vinegar. Maria never knew such mixes were possible. She was amazed at how pleasant the smell was after implementing the natural products.

Recently, with the help of Aliria, Maria asked her landlord if he could replace the dirty rug altogether. After informing him that the rug was a potential threat to her family, the land lord replaced it. Community Health Promoters not only educates residents on how to improve the home environment, but also help tenants advocate on behalf of themselves. Maria is incredibly thankful to Esperanza and St. John’s because her children’s and mother’s asthma is now controlled after she learned how to improve the health of her home.

 Story by: Drea Chicas