1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Joshua Hernandez and I am 32 years old. I was born and raised in this wonderful city of El Paso, Texas. I graduated from UTEP with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and a minor in Criminal Justice. In a previous role, I worked as an Intervention Specialist and provided case management to families in rural areas, to ensure they had access to a continuum of care for substance abuse and mental health services. This led me to grow a passion for community health and service. In my personal life, I enjoy staying active and love to go hiking. You can also find me reading or writing poetry- which is another passion of mine.
2. Give us a description of what you do for United Way.
I am the Health Access Coordinator VISTA, working alongside AmeriCorps Resource Navigators and Family Resiliency Navigators, to ensure that participants have access to and knowledge of SNAP, WIC, and other public health benefit programs. The goal is to increase the number of participants at the El Paso United Family Resiliency Center (FRC) and UWEPC’s Parents as Teachers program (PAT) who enroll in healthy eating programs, through trainings and creation of supplemental communications to navigators.
3. Why is this work so important to our community?
The work that I do, alongside the navigators and educators, is vital to our community because it ensures that families have access to a continuum of local resources and nutritional programs. Finding help and resources in this pandemic can be a daunting, and even overwhelming task in itself, but our work here is to let our community know that we are here to guide them through these uncertain times.
4. What is the most surprising thing you have learned about the community and yourself in your time at United Way?
I have recognized in my time with United Way, that it is an honor to do the type of work that I am doing for our community. I have been so inspired and moved by the resilient attitudes and positive impact that everyone of us has demonstrated. Our sense of community, is indeed the heartbeat of “El Paso Strong”.
5. Share a quote that motivates you as a person and as a member of the United Way team.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
I first heard this verse from a family member, who had been hospitalized due to an accident. They told me that God knew who I was, and that my name was in His book. This verse has played a large role in my upbringing, and serves as a constant reminder that I am never alone in any circumstance or event in my life. It motivates me to push forward, knowing that His plans are to prosper us and to give us a hope and a future.