As we progress through the COVID-19 pandemic, more lives continue to be affected. Yes, we have made major advancements as a country to get vaccines developed and sent out, but that resource is not available to anyone. More specifically, Latino immigrants. That is where MALVEC and our workers come in. We hold ourselves to the highest responsibility to get our people and our community the proper resources they need during these dire times. That work, however, can not be done without the help of our community health workers.

Madelín Martínez is an individual who knows what it is like to struggle. Growing up in El Salvador, she came to the United States when she was just a teenager. Madelín saw what it was like to be an immigrant, and what came with that experience wasn’t always good. “I grew up in El Salvador and came here when I was a teenager, so that right there was one of the biggest things that influenced my life, just the experience of being an immigrant, not having a lot of the access to things that my peers had access to”.

Given that Madelín had been able to look through the lens of an immigrant, she knew the hardships that came with it. This was a major influence for Madelín to get into the line of work she is in today, “I feel like my mom was begging for us to have basic care, that we needed to go to school, and I felt that was wrong. I want to be a resource to the community and to help connect families who don’t have access to medical care to those who have it”. A basic commodity, unfortunately, was and is still not as easily accessible to Latino immigrants as it should be. With the work that Madelín has been doing in Baltimore County has been nothing short of commendable and admirable.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Madelín has experienced countless times the amount of hardship and struggle that many Latinos have had to deal with. The Latino demographic has been hit if not the hardest, one of the hardest during the pandemic. Madelín figured out one of the main reasons for this to be the case, “I think when it comes down to the effects COVID-19 has had on our population, it has more to do with not having access to all the assistance that was available to everyone else, especially for immigrant families.” Regardless of this setback, that did not stop Madelín for steering Latinos in the right direction and getting them the proper resources needed.

Being an immigrant herself, Madelín knows how critical it is for one of her clients to get the resources they need. In fact, it is one of the most fulfilling things about her work, “When we’re trying to connect someone with a resource that is hard to find, and we finally find a place that can provide that resource, that is so fulfilling. Throughout the entire process sometimes I want to give up and I talk to the client, and I realize, you know what, they need it, let’s keep on looking. I reassure the client that we’re going to keep knocking, we’re going to keep looking, and something has to open; something has to work out. Then we finally find that door, that crack in the wall that we can hammer down and make a hole big enough for us to get through and get that care for that assistance for that family”.

What we do at MALVEC would not be possible without the work and determination from our community health workers, like Madelín. The work we put into making our community safer and better protected comes from a place of love and compassion. That is why everyone at MALVEC does the work we do, because we care about our people, and they matter.