Pregnant with her third child, Kierra Spears could no longer work her factory job because she was at a high risk for a poor birth outcome. But with assistance from a Toledo/Lucas County CareNet community health worker, Kierra was able to get food, clothing, a pak ‘n play, diapers and other necessities before Caiden was born.
“I wasn’t ready for my third son at all,” Kierra said. “Any time I call Tava about something I need or to ask her anything, she’s been there, even on the weekend.”
The CareNet community health worker (CHW) also gave Kierra the final push she needed to get her GED, something her late Grandma had always encouraged her to do.
Now Kierra works as a direct care provider for developmentally disabled clients, joining her Mom and other relatives with a career in the medical field.
“I already knew what I wanted to do,” Kierra said. “I just knew a lot of people wouldn’t work with me – or no one would work with me – without a GED or a high school diploma.”
She added: “That high school diploma, GED, opened up a lot of doors.”
CareNet’s other CHWs connect clients to needed medical and social services, including insurance coverage, food, transportation, clothing and other basic needs. They also help clients improve their overall well-being through education and other assistance.
CHWs act as advocates and coaches for their clients, with whom they work one-on-one to address their needs. CareNet’s CHWs assistant pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, breast cancer patients and other adults with chronic diseases.
Kierra is an ideal client because she is highly motivated to care for her family, and she doesn’t procrastinate, her CHW said. Kierra even shares information about resources so she can help other clients, she said.
“She is the type of client who you can depend on,” the CHW added. “Kierra is a good mom, so that makes her a good client. She cares.”
With her GED, Kierra was able to find a job that provided paid training so that she can better care for her sons.
“It’s so important for working mothers like myself to have the kind of support CareNet provides,” Kierra said.