Check out this month’s HUB Network Spotlight with Shealeigh Wallace, Community Health Worker at Community Action Partnership of Cambria County
Tell us about yourself.
Originally, I am from Redondo Beach California, but I have lived all over the USA. I have always loved meeting new people and getting immersed in many different and wonderful cultures. It has given me the ability to gain an understanding and different points of view for so many scenarios. People sometimes ask me if it is hard not having any ‘roots’ anywhere. I sometimes think it would have been lovely, but then I remember that instead, I have a laundry list of adventures, and wonderfully strange stories. (Which I am always happy to share if you get bored.)
What does being a community health worker mean to you?
When I was in my late twenties, I had been diagnosed with Lupus, and Fibromyalgia. It was devastating. I had no idea what to do, or where to even start. I went years fighting my own private battle and eventually did end up ignoring it because there was no information. It made me realize that there were a lot of people who stood in the same place I did, holding a compass with no needle. Now, I am here. In a beautiful state, with beautiful people. With a new calling. A Community Health Worker. To stretch out a hand and say, ‘Here, let me help you, I understand.”
If you could help people understand one thing about the clients you’re working with, what would it be?
My wish is for people to understand that everyone has their struggles. Something that one person has lived through, may not be something that someone else is able to deal with in the same way. No one should ever judge or be judged for how they are affected by the struggles they are currently going through. I have used the illustration of the two wolves many times, not only as a teaching tool, but a personal reminder to not Judge, and more importantly… not to let the judgements of others affect me.
What are some of the barriers and obstacles your participants face that people might not know about?
Fear. It’s the bottom line. Fear of being rejected, fear of being wrong, fear of being different, fear of being judged, fear of the unknown. It usually boils down to fear. Unfortunately, its affect encompasses not just one aspect of a person’s life, but the entirety of it.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies or hidden talents?
Being from the beach, I am a total water baby! When I was 16, I became a certified white water rapid guide in Colorado, but now you will see me floating leisurely on a kayak. Also, I crochet with reckless abandon! When I happen to be laid up with numerous yarn and hook injuries with nothing else to do, I read. Seriously, I could single handedly put amazon out of business with their Kindle Unlimited Plan.