Community Health Worker students reflect on experiences

This+year%27s+cohort+of+Community+Health+Worker+students+with+instructors+Amanda+Allison+and+Jennifer+Arre.+Photos+courtesy+of+Marirose+Daproza.

This year’s cohort of Community Health Worker students with instructors Amanda Allison and Jennifer Arre. Photos courtesy of Marirose Daproza.

The Community Health Worker Program (CHW) in partnership with Kapiolani Community College prepares students as outreach community health workers to link disadvantaged populations with existing healthcare resources. The CHW program capitalizes on the linguistic and cultural assets of multilingual learners, or English Language (EL) students, due to their ability to bridge language and cultural gaps between healthcare providers and underserved populations. More information on the CHW program is available at waipahuhigh.org.

“My name is Raymart Billote and I am a senior at Waipahu High School. A teacher who is very close to my heart, Mrs. Marirose Daproza, recommended a program that she thought would be an excellent opportunity for me. It is the Community Health Workers (CHW) Program. Most students in the program are multilingual, which is one thing that I really love about it. I moved to Hawaii from the Philippines four years ago, and the CHW program allows students like me from different cultural backgrounds to use our gift of communicating in several languages to help people in need.

Being in this program has been absolutely amazing, especially since we are accompanied by Mrs. Jennifer Arre in our class. We typically conduct discussions and interactive activities. One activity that I really enjoyed was the one-on-one interview where one student acted as the client and the other as the interviewer or worker. We also do fun group projects such as community organizing in which we try to solve issue occurring in the community.

This program introduced me to the world of client-centered counseling and care management, and helped me develop my professionalism. The CHW program also aligns with my passion to be able to help individuals get the resources that they need, which is why I will be continuing the last part of the program after high school at Kapiolani Community College (KCC) to earn a CHW Certificate of Competence. Waipahu High School was fortunate enough to secure a grant to allow four of five CHW courses to be free for our students. The Community Health Workers (CHW) Program is a fun and meaningful program and above all, a great opportunity for individuals who want to work in the medical field.

I appreciate Mrs. Daproza, Mrs. Arre, Ms. Amanda Allison, Assistant Principal Eunice Fukunaga, and Principal Keith Hayashi for their contributions to this program. As a result of their efforts, several seniors, including myself, will be graduating four courses closer to earning a Community Health Worker certificate.”

– Raymart Billote

“My name is Latu Hu’ahulu. I am from Tongatapu, Tonga. I am the ninth out of ten children. I went to Liahona High School in Tonga until my sophomore year and moved here to Hawaii two years ago. I am currently a senior at Waipahu High School in the Academy of Health & Sciences. I speak both English and Tongan. 

The Community Health Worker (CHW) program allows me to take steps towards the future. It allows me to choose which fields of interest I would like to work in, and provides me an opportunity to support myself in the future and to continue my education in the medical field. 

When I chose to join the CHW program, I knew it was a great opportunity to learn the basics of interviewing, examining, and taking care of patients. However, I thought the program would be hard because it was all about preparing students to become Community Health Workers. I was kind of timid and didn’t know much at first. But when I got used to this program, I experienced so many things and learned to build others’ health knowledge and self-sufficiency through outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy. I learned about many types of health professionals, such as lay health workers and outreach workers. I learned more about the physical and mental well-being of the people in the community, and how to address issues within the community. Being a multilingual student, I am excited to be able to use my native language to help connect people to needed health care resources. Participating in this program, I also learned how to cooperate and communicate with my classmates as a teammate. In class, I was able to play the role of both a client and community health worker, and take responsibility for any mistakes. Practicing through role-playing and other activities helped me to learn and experience so many things.

I am so proud to be part of the CHW program. I would like to thank my KCC CHW instructor Mrs. Amanda Allison, Mamita (Mrs. Jennifer Arre), and Mama Daps (Mrs. Marirose Daproza) for being amazing and for always supporting and helping me in everything throughout the CHW courses. My plans after graduation are to complete my last CHW course (a practicum course) and to further my education in nursing.” 

– Latu Hu’ahulu