Meet Sophie Sprankle, the newest Community Health Worker at the HUB. She is employed by care coordination agency Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Sophie. I am a graduate of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College with a degree in Social Work and a certificate in Substance Abuse & Addiction Technician. In addition to that, I am also an alumnus of Saint Francis University, where I studied Behavioral Sciences. I am known for my goofy and talkative personality. When I am not working, I am often found in the gym, coffee shop, or TjMaxx.

We heard you just got the Covid-19 vaccine. Can you share anything about that experience and the importance of getting vaccinated?
I had the opportunity to get vaccinated pretty early on. I was a little anxious walking into it due to the fear that people around me were projecting. Upon receiving all three doses of my vaccine, I had little to no side effects apart from a sore arm. For me, getting the COVID-19 vaccine just made sense. I wanted to do my part to help keep not only myself healthy, but also my community.

How do you see CHWs playing a role in advancing racial and health equity in our region?
The role I play in advancing equity is one of the many reasons I love this program. In the work that I have the opportunity to do, I am able to act as an advocate for marginalized populations in our community. When working with individuals I have the privilege to empower them to let their voices be heard. We utilize education as a tool to help individuals to gain a better understanding of health and learn to overcome the barriers that might be in their way.

What is the most rewarding part of being a CHW so far?
I would have to say that the most rewarding part of being a Community Health Worker is seeing the progress that participants make. Seeing people achieve their goals is one of my favorite things. I love getting to be peoples’ cheerleader no matter the size of their accomplishments.  It means so much that they let be along for their journey.

What does being a community health worker mean to you?
Growing up in this area, I have heard so many negative comments about living in Johnstown. We see a trend where people either leave this town as soon as they have the opportunity or they are filled with so much hatred towards being a part of this community. You may call me a bit of an optimist, but I did not feel this way. I saw the resilience and strength found in Johnstown. I wanted to be able to use my skillset to be able to invest in the lives of those living in this community, and being a Community Health Worker gives me that opportunity. So many of our participants fall into marginalized populations and because of this, their needs fall between the cracks. Our goal is to equip our participants with the tools that they need to be successful and live a healthy life. In doing this we must act as an advocate, an educator, a compassionate ally, and so much more.