Our current health care system is complex, difficult to navigate, and inaccessible to people with limited funds and recourses. Especially for people from different cultural backgrounds, these challenges can feel impossible to overcome. But CORE El Centro understands health differently. To them, health is an elaborate web of pieces that we must tie together to be our best selves and that starts with a safe space to practice healing. When co-founders Jayne Ader and Madeline Gianforte started CORE El Centro 16 years ago, they saw a need for an understanding of healing and access to health services in the community. “People have this innate wisdom about their path and each path is different. So how do we help you find that,” says Ader. Their goal is to inspire individuals and families to achieve optimal health by offering affordable services in both English and Spanish.
CORE El Centro treats members of the community that have limited access to health care due to low income, language barriers, cultural barriers and other factors. Most of the organization’s clients are Latino, but anyone is welcome for treatment. Their ability to connect with clients through language and culture is what makes CORE El Centro unique. When a client first visits the building, they meet with a staff member called a health navigator, who discusses their health concerns, problems at home, and general troubles to truly understand the factors impacting their health. “They can really connect with what you are going through,” says Carla Del Pozo, director of the Integrative Health and Wellness program. These health navigators are able place the client with the best possible practitioners because they are trained community health workers and people from the community. In order to heal someone, CORE believes you must first get to know them and understand where their pain originated from.
The organization is built with four main programs: Integrated Health and Wellness, Gardening and Nutrition, Children’s Wellness and Volunteers. They offer one-on-one sessions in therapies such as acupuncture and massage, as well as courses like reiki, yoga, gardening and nutrition. CORE El Centro has also built strong relationships over years with their partners, such as Aurora Walker’s Point Clinic, The Healing Center and others. These close relationships allow CORE to confidently refer clients who are in need of different healing services than what they offer. “Part of the mission is building community,” explains Ader. “By building community, you also heal.” When people are given access to health care through language, cost and community members that understand their needs, people are able to better themselves and give back to their community.
View the article on the Shepherd Express website, part of my regular Hero of the Week column.