This month for our Staff Highlight, we are featuring one of our new Community Health Workers, Cait Farber. Cait was the HUB spotlight for the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health. Below are some excerpts from her interview. You can read the full article on their website at www.1889jeffersoncenter.org/.
Tell us about yourself. What drew you to the Community Health Worker position in the first place?
My name is Caitlyn, but I like Cait. I’m 27 years young, a lifelong Cambria county native, and a tired psychology student. I’m a very proud mother of two beautiful and bossy toddlers that were my inspiration for my recent joining of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).
It was early on that I found my passion for helping people. I spent most of my life clawing my way out of poverty, generational abuse, and overall bad luck. Eviction, abuse, single parent life, homeless, unemployed… I’ve been there. It’s so hard to pull yourself out of it, but it’s not impossible. It’s what makes me a competent and successful community health worker. I’m not here to tell you how to live. I’m an everyday member of our community who has used the exact resources I refer my participants to. The moral of my story would absolutely have to read, “Be who you needed.” I am who I needed.
What do you feel is the most important quality for a CHW to bring to the table when working with a participant?
The most important quality to have to be a CHW is genuine compassion. Sometimes we are put in situations that challenge us, and you will need to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You need to care more about your participants more than checking all the boxes and meeting a quota. We are all people who have struggled like the people we serve. This means we can relate to the people we serve on a personal note. To be a community health worker, you have to be strong, resilient, determined but also cordial, receptive, and patient.
What is the most challenging part of being a CHW?
The most challenging part of being a CHW is finding a barrier or a gap in services but having little power to change it quickly. We want to be aware of the mind, body, and soul cohesively, but also individually, as each participant has their own life. This includes physical health, but also social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.