Community Health Graduates Hoping to be the Change in District 5

Earlier this year, Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales of District 5, said in an interview that over 30 percent of all child abuse cases in Bexar Country are coming out of two zip codes in her district on the West Side.

District 5 is going to get some much needed help soon with the graduation of 10 Community Health Workers from Northwest Vista College at the Westside Education Training Center on March 2.

Gonzales used federal grant money to pay the tuition and salaries of the students. The Family Service Association of San Antonio said they plan to hire two full-time and two part-time workers to work with up to 21 families to assist them. Other community agencies will be encouraged to hire the rest of the graduates.

NVC’s Community Health Worker program offers associate’s degree and certificates and coursework in this program is intended to develop and enhance the skills of community health advisors, social and human service assistants, and other people interested in working in the field of social work, community health and advocacy.

Gonzales told the graduates at their ceremony that she had her first baby at 40 years old and just because she 40, it didn’t mean she knew how to take care of a baby. She added the graduates can be like a “compadre” or friend to many women in her district who need assistance in raising a child.

“I know it seems lofty, but the way we change the culture and behavior of people is through peer pressure and friends,” added Gonzales.

Alongside Gonzales, Nancy Hard, CEO/President of the Family Services Association of San Antonio said a few words, as well as Gene Gonzalez, manager of the WETC. Delicia Herrera, Alamo Colleges academic program specialist, gave the closing remarks and said with the graduate’s help on the West Side, they can make a difference in a person’s life.

Community Health Program Coordinator Dr. Fernando Martinez presented the certificates to the students.

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