Community Engagement: Latin American Association's Grupo de Tercer Edad
Community engagement has been one of the most valuable aspects of my RSPH experience and my graduate degree. As Outreach Chair of HOLA, I had the opportunity to strengthen and foster relationships with Latino serving community partners in the Atlanta area. The most rewarding community engagement experience during my position on the HOLA executive board was at the Latin American Association with what we called El Club de los Abuelitos, or the Grandparents’ Club, now known as Grupo de Tercer Edad. Each Friday, a group of elderly Latino men and women meet at the Latin American Association to participate in various activities and socialize. Once a month, HOLA facilitates and plans an interactive health education lesson for this group.
The time I spent with the Grupo de Tercer Edad each month was always exciting, refreshing, and touching. The group is boisterous yet welcoming. I never knew what was going to happen or what interesting stories I would hear. On each of those Fridays I left feeling energized and with purpose.
In graduate school, it’s easy to get wrapped up in coursework due dates, data on a computer, and PubMEdited, but working with the compassionate men and women of Abuelitos reminded me why we do public health. I do public health because I love people. I love all kinds of people. I love what people have to share, and I love imparting bits of what I know while having fun in turn. Most importantly, we do public health because of the impact. When it comes down to it, health and wellness is as relevant to me, a young Californian too far from the beach, as it is to an eighty year old Cuban man with tales of Che and the Revolution.