Check out this month’s HUB Network Spotlight with Gwendolyn Msolomba, Community Health Worker Supervisor at Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a supervisor at AUCP and have been there for 5 years. I also teach West African dance at the Bottleworks for kids (7 years) and at St. Francis as a 3 credit course (1 year). I love to dance, read, braid hair (side job) and be with my very large and loud family. My family is my driving force for everything that I do as they support and encourage me to be all and do all that I want in life. My brother Desmond is the rock that holds me level to the ground. I have 2 dogs and a turtle that make my house interesting.
Can you share a little about what you do every day at AUCP?
My job at AUCP is one to make sure that adults with physical disabilities are able to remain safely in their home. We set up services such as personal aide services, home delivered meals, or personal emergency response units. We monitor all services and complete assessments to make sure that the participants level of care is adequate to the participants needs. Secondly I supervisor the CHWs at my agency. I make sure that the work they have completed is done correctly and timely. Across the board I provide feedback and support so that all on my teams feel supported and understand their job responsibilities.
What are some tips & tricks you’ve picked up over the years in your experience working with people?
Over the years I have learned that everyone is different and the way you work and speak with one may not work on another. I have learned that everyone has the right to make bad decisions, but it is our job to show them a better way of thinking and doing. I have also learned that we have to think of the people we are working with like they were your family member. Thinking that, would I want my family member to struggle, would I talk to my family member like that and would I treat my family member like that. If we have that thinking then we will do our very best to make sure that their needs are being met.
What is unique about CHWs’ work and what they do to help fulfill the mission of AUCP?
I think that what makes the HUB program unique is that we are meeting people where they are. We are not trying to change them but to help them see that they have a lot to offer and then providing them with the resources they need to achieve the goals they set for themselves. I think the CHWs have been where some of the participants are and can provide insight and support to help them be successful in their goals.
We hear that dance is important in your life. How do you see dance as a way to connect with and reach others?
I love to dance!! I teach and dance West African dance at the Bottleworks in Johnstown and also at St Francis. When I dance or teach I make sure that we are connecting with those around us. I invite others to feel the joy and love that West African Dance offers. My dance group Kulani Kids has a mission to spread joy and love throughout our community. So when we dance we make sure that no matter the age they feel joy and love and are welcomed to dance with us.