Enlace Chicago

Enlace maximizes local resources and builds the capacity of community health workers (CHWs) to promote wellness, prevent chronic disease, and increase access to healthcare and healthy food.

 

Health

 
Promotorxs de Salud

Enlace trains and employs community leaders as Community Health Workers (CHWs), or Promotorxs de Salud. A CHW is a public health worker who is a trusted member of the community in which they work; this allows them to serve as liaisons between residents and providers, and to validate the knowledge, culture and traditions of local families. Enlace Promotorxs provide health education and peer support groups, and they support community members with public benefits and health insurance enrollment, healthcare navigation, and mental health and basic needs referrals. They are able to assist residents in overcoming barriers to accessing care, such as the need for safe transportation or child care, and in connecting with additional resources, such as community-based programs and food, housing and legal services. Their work leads to better access to services, improved quality of service delivery and improved health outcomes.

 

Promotorxs do outreach and facilitate women’s peer support groups at a number of schools throughout the community. They have weekly office hours at the following schools:

  • Eli Whitney Elementary School

  • Francisco I. Madero Middle School

  • Lázaro Cardenas Elementary School

 

To make an appointment with one of our Promotorxs, click here.

Enlace works with community leaders to transform empty lots into community gardens. These spaces provide opportunities for healthy food production, safe outdoor recreation, community-based education and community building. They also serve as powerful models for sustainable practices and conservation, and they engage youth and families in environmental education through collaborations with key partners. Gardeners gather weekly throughout the growing season, and each site hosts family-friendly workshops, classes, trainings, volunteer days and celebrations. Garden design and activities are relevant to and respectful of the diverse cultures and traditions of Little Village families, and they promote the preservation of indigenous knowledge and practice.

 

Gardens directly supported by Enlace include:​

  • 6062Trees: Sembrando Bajo el Sol: 26th and Trumbull

  • Mr. Keeler’s Pumpkin Eaters/El Jardín de la Calabaza: 25th and Keeler

To volunteer in the gardens, click here.

 
Organizing and Advocacy

Enlace’s efforts to promote a healthy community are driven by community leaders. Most of the Enlace health team staff and a large percentage of Promotorxs and garden leaders are Spanish-dominant, immigrant mothers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the initiatives of this focus area. Promotorxs take extensive training, and Enlace created a version of its Leadership Academy tailored to local Promotorxs. Leaders have focused on supporting organizing efforts and policy advocacy campaigns focused on improving access to healthcare for youth and residents that are uninsured and/or undocumented.

 

Enlace’s health team has facilitated a number of local networks. Through the collaboration of mental healthcare providers, community organizations and local leaders that are passionate about emotional wellness, Roots to Wellness (R2W) engaged in important research concerning access to local mental health services and worked to improve the mental healthcare system in Little Village and the surrounding areas. Hope Response Coalition (HRC) convened local organizations focused on the provision of basic needs and currently facilitates an emergency assistance fund for families in need. Promoviendo, Abogando, y Educando por la Salud (PAES) is a network of predominantly Spanish-speaking Latinx community health workers based in Little Village that coordinates peer support, training, professional development and health advocacy efforts. Finally, the Little Village Gardeners Coalition (LVGC) focuses on sharing resources and developing neighborhood-wide strategies that improve access to healthy food for Little Village families in order to improve community health and reduce the prevalence of chronic disease. To learn more about each of these networks, click here for R2W, HRC, PAES and LVGC.

 

For more information about the Enlace Leadership Academy, click here.