This close relationship also opens the door of opportunity for CHWs to refer individuals to formal help from organizations that understand the Latino culture and provide bilingual support. These referrals are crucial to getting services that provide safety resources and information on the rights of survivors so that they can make informed decisions when faced with difficult life choices.
Ultimately, the activities in this program are designed to enhance survivors over all well-being and quality of life. CHWs are there to help them achieve this by providing activities that work to establish self-efficacy, self-determination, and a sense of hope.
CHWs from our El Arte de Sobrevivir program provide materials to decorate shoe boxes to use as time capsules for the survivors. Each survivor will then write passages in journals, create jewelery, and pick out their favorite photos to put inside. The boxes are stored away in a safe place that is accesible to each survivor so that they can open them at a later date.
MHP Salud has a history of creating CHW-led programs that address domestic violence in order to help survivors in underserved Latino and Hispanic communities across the U.S.:
MHP Salud programs that promote healthy relationships are tailored to meet the needs of the local community, and most follow a successful model led by a Community Health Worker (CHW).
Voces Unidas (United Voices): In Voces Unidas, CHWs identify local leaders in communities within Texas and Florida, and train them to work as peer support leaders. Together, they conduct outreach, provide information and education, form support groups and refer women to individual or group counseling. CHWs in Voces Unidas also serve as advocates for sexual assault survivors. They work to expand the services available in underserved communities by promoting awareness and action.
Amigas de Lenawee Moviéndose Adelante (Lenawee Friends Moving Forward): Amigas de Lenawee Moviéndose Adelante, CHWs support survivors of sexual assault in Lenawee County, Michigan by establishing peer networks that allow them to share experiences and perspectives with each other. CHWs also refer survivors to services provided by our partners, the Family Counseling and Children’s Services of Lenawee County’s Catherine Cobb Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program.
Un Nuevo Mañana (A New Day): Un Nuevo Mañana provides support through outreach and education to sexual assault survivors in low-income, Spanish-speaking communities along Texas’ southern border. These communities are often referred to as colonias. Residents in colonias often don’t have access to reliable transportation and can have misconceptions about sexual assault. Community Health Worker’s shared cultural background with the community allows them conduct outreach comfortably, within the colonias. This access helps CHWs effectively address concerns and eliminates the need for residents to travel outside of their communities.
A woman holds up a vision board filled with clippings from a magazine meant to represent different aspects of her life that she can reflect on.
CHWs incorporate jewerly making into sessions to enourage self-expression and reduce stress.
Completed projects often give survivors a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Through peer support groups, creative activities, and a network of resources, Community Health Workers can lead the charge in changing cultural norms around healthy relationships. Although MHP Salud’s programs were implemented in predominantly Spanish-speaking communities, the implications for success are there for any community.
To learn more about our Community Health Worker interventions that support healthy relationships visit the Community Health Worker Program page.