Since I was a baby, my family and I have been going to La Clínica to receive health care services. In the 8th grade I was nominated by several of my teachers to become a Peer Health Educator as part of La Clínica's program. I didn't know what I was getting myself into at the time, but it changed my life.
As a Peer Health Educator I teach teenagers about health, nutrition and sex education. Initially, I was surprised at how little knowledge my classmates had about these topics. It made me feel good that they were comfortable asking me questions that they wouldn't ask their teachers or parents. I've learned that I love teaching.
Now, I'm a member of the Peer Health Education Advisory Board. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of this program. It has taught me to be a leader and provided me with valuable skills. With La Clínica's guidance I've gained confidence, I've become a leader, a public speaker and an advocate for youth. Most importantly, I've made a difference in the lives of the teenagers I've taught. I recently submitted my college applications and plan to study psychology. I will be the first in my family to attend college.
Joel, my son, called home on several occasions asking to get picked up because he couldn't stop coughing and he felt like he was suffocating. One of those times it was so bad, I took him to La Clínica. He was immediately given oxygen and soon after Dr. McClaughry conducted a number of tests and diagnosed him with asthma. I had heard of asthma, but I didn't really know what it was. Dr. McClaughry helped me and my son understand what asthma is and how to live with it.
I am very thankful to La Clínica for the asthma care that my son has received. Since Joel has been getting treated at La Clínica, he has not missed school, has not been to the hospital, and has been able to live a normal and healthy life.
In August of 2008, I started experiencing excessive thirst, frequent urination, weakness and fatigue. I knew there was something serious with my health when I started to have blurry vision and began to feel numbness in my hands. I finally came to La Clínica for a check-up and was diagnosed with diabetes. I was alarmed because I did not know anything about diabetes or what it meant to have diabetes. Coming to La Clínica helped me learn the right way to eat. Before, I was eating a lot of red meat. Now, I am eating more vegetables and fruits. It's hard to give up tortillas and tamales, they are staples in my culture, but I also feel it is my responsibility to take care of myself. La Clínica has helped me improve the way I eat and ultimately change the way I live in order to live a longer and healthier life.