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A Note from Jessica - Vecinos

Marianne Martinez
  • November 21, 2017
By: Jessica Rodriguez

My interest in the farmworker movement goes back to my family. I have many relatives who have worked in the past as farmworkers, my father being one of them. My family members have shared their stories with me about the struggles they faced as farmworkers and I am so grateful to be able to help the men and women who continue to do this work. When I was given the news that I was accepted to be a Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) fellow my entire family was excited to know I would be working with the Hispanic community. Once I found out my placement, I researched everything about it. Vecinos’ mission is what my Public Health degree consists of improving the health of a very important population within the community.

The past five months as a SAF fellow have opened doors to so many opportunities. I have attended conferences, met amazing activists who fight for farmworker justice, but the greatest one of all is the opportunity to stay full-time at Vecinos. Being offered a position within the Vecinos team is something I wanted from the moment I started. It warmed my heart when we went out to do home visits to farmworker families and I saw the children ecstatic when they saw the mobile clinic parking beside their home.

During my first week of work, I fell in love with what Vecinos consists of. There is never a typical day for this type of work. I enjoy picking up patients and taking them to their appointments. The first few minutes of the car ride can be a bit awkward, but by the time I drop them off at their house I know about their family, life story, and roots. Each place we visit for outreach has its own unique atmosphere, but one thing every place has in common is a huge welcome with a smile on everyone’s face. I have gotten to know so many of the individuals we serve and it’s so rewarding to not only be the Promotora de Salud, but be a friend to them as well.