Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month
After many years of working at the Grand Rapids Press, April Johnson found herself needing something new. She wanted something that allowed her to give back to the community while making new connections in an entirely different career field. That’s when April discovered the Cherry Health AmeriCorps program where she signed on to become a full-time AmeriCorps member and committed to a year of service.
The Cherry Health AmeriCorps program utilizes 30 full-time AmeriCorps members whose service helps increase long-term food security and access to healthy food, provides health insurance enrollment assistance for underserved populations, and promotes healthy lifestyle choices through health education. The program’s members serve in a variety of roles including: enrollment assistance for health coverage and food assistance programs, medical interpretation for patients with limited English proficiency, health and wellness promotion, identifying patients in need of preventative screening and services, and community outreach. AmeriCorps members also participate in health-focused community service projects during their service year.
April’s site placement is the Women’s Health Network, where she dedicates herself to serving the health care needs of women age 40-64. She has shown exemplary performance spending the majority of her time helping to register patients with the program and doing outreach for appointment reminders and follow-ups. She also provides assistance on the mobile unit, where patients can receive mammograms. The outreach April does is especially important because many of the patients she serves are under-insured, uninsured, or low-income and in need of additional supports.
April shows tremendous compassion with the population she serves and truly lives the Cherry Health mission, improving health and wellness of individuals by encouraging access of services to those who are underserved. She has demonstrated tremendous initiative building partnerships with other community members, family, and friends to help empower women to access services and promote opportunities.
April, having experienced some of the services she helps to provide, is not afraid to share her own experiences with patients to help ease their concerns and anxieties. “April’s ability to relate to patients makes her unique and the best fit for her service role,” stated program director Marsha Hazen. “April has a warm personality, is an all-around positive person, and performs all of her service with a smile. She has the ability to talk to anyone, is always thoughtful with her comments, and remains calm under pressure. The staff at her site have said she is one of the best AmeriCorps members they have had the fortune to work with.”