By Nettie Faratci – Nettie is a member of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps and serves as the Program Associate in N Street Village’s Wellness Center.
N Street Village’s Wellness Center offers programs and services that take a holistic approach to wellness, addressing the mind, body, and spirit. I sat down with Kate and Ugo, two members of N Street Village’s Health Promotion team, to learn more about what’s going on at the Wellness Center and their visions for the Center’s future.
Nettie: Tell us a little about yourself. What brought you to N Street Village?
Ugo: I’ve always been interested in maternal health and working with underserved populations. Having lived in an underserved area in Nigeria, I learned that there are a number of external factors affecting one’s health. I wanted to learn more about these issues through focusing on women and children. When I learned about the opportunity to work as a Health Promotion Specialist at N Street Village, I thought it would be a good fit and would allow me to focus on this particular population.
Kate: I am a recent nursing graduate with an interest in both public health and women’s health. I came across a service corps program that was offering a great nursing position at N Street Village, and it seemed like a great fit.
Nettie: What is your role in the Wellness Center? Are there any special projects you are working on?
Ugo: I work as the Health Promotion Specialist in the Wellness Center. My main project is focused on helping manage the burden clients face with diabetes. One way I do this is by collaborating with partner organizations that have a vested interest in diabetes education and management through primary, secondary and tertiary intervention. We link clients with specialists and also use the peer health partner model to empower clients to teach each other about their condition.
Kate: I work as the Health Promotion Nurse in the Wellness Center. I work in a variety of ways to ensure that our clients’ health needs are being met. I conduct one-on-one meetings, help with problem-solving, help out in the medical clinic when needed, and lead a health education class. The special project I am currently working on is our reiki and biofeedback initiative. This initiatives focuses on providing clients with pain and stress management, while fostering personal wellness and equipping them with the tools to help others in the community.
Nettie: When you think of N Street Village, what words come to mind?
Ugo: Innovation, empowerment, diversity, and community.
Kate: I agree with all of those. I would add that N Street Village is holistic and caring.
Nettie: What is your favorite part about working at N Street Village and in the Wellness Center?
Ugo: I enjoy working one-on-one with our clients, helping troubleshoot when issues arise, and advocating for our clients.
Kate: I really like walking through the halls and saying hello to all the women. It gives me a chance to check-in with them.
Nettie: What does “wellness” mean to you?
Ugo: Wellness means being complete. Being stable mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Kate: Wellness is a sort of a comprehensive peace of mind and body, where people feel that they are in a good place with their health, both mentally and physically. They also feel equipped to manage the health challenges that come their way.
Nettie: What do you hope for the future of health promotion at N Street Village?
Kate: I’m hope that we can continue to provide our services and foster an environment where people know that their health needs are being supported.
Ugo: I see a health promotion office where we are instrumental in advancing the mission of N Street Village. I hope that our work leads to more clients having an improved knowledge, attitude, and practice of health issues that they can use as tools as they transition out of N Street Village.
Nettie: If you could buy anything for the Wellness Center, what would it be?
Ugo: Hemoglobin AIC testing equipment to help the women we serve with diabetes management.
Kate: I would buy an ice cream machine that lowers your risk for diabetes. One can dream!
About the Interviewer: As the Program Associate in N Street Village’s Wellness Center, Nettie coordinates programming and services in the Wellness Center, works with volunteers and community partners, and teaches a weekly nutrition class. Nettie is from Chicago, IL and graduated from Brandeis University with a BS in public health and biology. In her spare time, Nettie enjoys cooking, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.