Meet the newest HUB Community Health Worker Stephanie Buck. She is employed by HUB care coordination agency Community Action Partnership of Cambria County.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a mother of 3 children. I have a daughter who just turned 20 and is a Sophomore at Juniata College, an 18-year-old son in his senior year of High School, a wild little girl who just turned 3 and “keeps me on my toes” and a supportive boyfriend. I’m truly blessed. I learned during my COVID quarantine that being a stay-at-home mother is not for me. I enjoy working and supporting my family. When not at work, we spend most of our summer on the Juniata River camping. I also enjoy hunting, fishing, gardening, canning, foraging for mushrooms and plants, snowmobiling and pretty much any outdoor activity.
What drew you to the CHW positions in the first place? Do you have any past experiences that have helped and/or prepared you for this role?
I was a single mother for a long period of time and a victim of domestic abuse at one point in my life. I was homeless, lost my job and I didn’t know where to turn. I quit eating and lost a lot of weight and turned to alcohol in order to sleep. My kids gave me the strength needed to fight my depression. I applied for jobs and worked for a friend cleaning and doing minor construction on rental properties until I could afford a rental. Shortly afterwards, I started working with Cambria County Children and Youth Services as a Caseworker. I believe my experiences at CYS has opened my eyes to the struggles many face in our community, and I’m also familiar with some of the resources our community has to offer.
What does being a community health worker mean to you?
I can relate to many of the participants. I will present myself as a Community Health Worker and hope to not only facilitate access to services but be a trusting, understanding and compassionate person they can reach out to.
What are some of the barriers and obstacles your participants face that people might not know about?
It’s so easy to criticize others without knowing the actual obstacles they face. Being on public assistance, for example, is often associated with laziness, not wanting to work and expecting handouts; when, in fact, that’s not always the case. For example, to obtain a job you first need transportation and you oftentimes need childcare (and then childcare backup if your child is sick or daycare is closed). Many jobs require experience or a degree, so, it’s not always as simple as just filling out an application for employment. Overcoming obstacles is a process that sometimes is not obtainable without some assistance. That’s where a CHW can help out immensely.