16-HeidyBarrosI was finishing my year as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Open Door [Family Medical Centers] and my supervisor told me that there was a position open at the Rye Y. I had already been trained as a coach for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program so I was really interested in the Community Health Worker job.

My dream is to become a nurse practitioner. The AmeriCorps job was a stepping stone, a chance for me to see how much I really liked working in the area of public health. When I got into Open Door, I realized that working with the patients, the community, was my passion. Now that I’m working as a Community Health Worker, it’s so much fun and so interesting to see the differences between different cultures. In my job, I go into the community and see what the needs are. I meet with people who are obese, at risk and looking for help. I can refer them to programs at the Y, like the Diabetes Prevention Program, or to Open Door. It’s like a dream. I never thought that at my age I’d get a job like this. It’s very rewarding.

I’ll go to school full-time at Westchester Community College for another year or so and then I’ll transfer to another college. But I still want to work with the community and give back to my community.

I love the type of people who work here. I love the environment. I love my co-workers; they’re always trying to support me. It’s like a second home for me.