49 year old 'Jorge', first reached out to Puertas Abiertas in June 2022. When he called, he had a difficult time opening up and being vulnerable regarding his situation and needs. Our Senior Case Manager guided him to share, bit by bit, what he felt comfortable with. He first shared he was seeking mental health services and other resources after receiving the devastating news that he was diagnosed with cancer. For the client to have begun very closed off and vulnerable, the empathy and kind tone we helped him with allowed him to open up more and felt more comfortable. He mentioned that he was going through a lot of emotional distress with feeling extremely overwhelmed, worried, and alone and he was having a difficult time processing the life changing news.
He went on to share that he was alone in the USA after migrating from Mexico. His family was back in Mexico and he has dedicated years of working hard to be the provider for the family. With the news, he was, undeniably, uneasy about what his future held. Being an immigrant with no status or medical insurance, the fear of reaching out for support and services was difficult for him. As the weeks and months passed his illness was progressing. He had to get several surgeries which affected his speech, and has been going through chemotherapy all the while dealing with other medical emergency visits.
It is our moral responsibility as an agency to support our community in times of crisis, and provide a roadmap to access equitable services. The community has established such trust and hope that it is critical we assess, support and instill hope and stability in their lives to be able to navigate such challenging times. Below are some of the services we helped him with.
Financial Literacy - Received $1,000 Stipend
Farmers Market Food Program - $300 Fruits & Veggie Bucks
Form Filling - SDI Application & certification
Form Filling- DMV - To obtain a disabled parking plate
Information for mental health services + added to Puertas Abiertas’ waitlist
Referrals/Information to resources at CARE Network
The client is a great example of resilience, self sufficiency, and determination. We are still in constant communication with him and feel glad that he is now comfortable enough to share updates with us regarding his health, needs, and questions he may have. Unfortunately, as of now he is still having emergency visits to the hospital due to his fragile health and receiving radiation and chemotherapy. However, just being able to be a part of his story and help him in his resilience journey is invaluable. Especially knowing that he does not have family here, physically to support him and guide him during these difficult times. Puertas Abiertas’ ability to create a sense of community and a welcoming and safe space for vulnerable individuals is crucial.
*story submitted by Puertas Abiertas' team member