Worthington nonprofit has awarded grant funds to help increase access to healthcare

Seeds of Justice will receive $ 140,000 from the foundation – one of the largest grant amounts to be awarded, according to Bukata Hayes, vice president of racial and health equity at Blue Cross and Blue Shield Minnesota.

“We fully understand the work of Seeds of Justice and its critical nature in accessing coverage in the Worthington area,” said Hayes. “We were eager to partner with a trusted community organization. “

The grant comes after Worthington was identified as a ‘hot spot’ for high uninsurance rates, with 10.4% of the population identified as uninsured, according to the State Health Access Data Assistance Center. Blue Cross Blue Shield hopes that with these additional funds, Seeds of Justice will be able to better understand the barriers to accessing healthcare and connect community members with available resources.

“Worthington is one of the most diverse communities in the state, so when it comes to addressing issues of access to coverage, we see Worthington as an important place to do this work to learn and apply in other communities across the state. “

For Aida Simon and Letty Rodriguez, two representatives of Seeds of Justice, this grant is something they are extremely grateful for. The Blue Cross Blue Shield grant will allow Seeds of Justice to expand its network of leaders across the community to do more outreach and genuine community engagement.

“With this support, we can make our work more structured and sustainable in the future,” said Simon. “We continue to network, build, bring visibility to Worthington and all the obstacles that stand in the way. “

This grant, Rodriguez says, is also part of what will allow Seeds of Justice to examine other issues facing communities of color. Health insurance is important, but it is not always a priority for people who also need food, shelter or a job. She highlights many different areas that can impact a person’s access to health care or health insurance, ranging from not having the means to travel to obtain health care when necessary. necessary, to language barriers that may prevent people from understanding what access they have.

“There are just a lot of things… when it comes to health, medicare, and health equity,” Rodriguez said. “There is a lot to explore to find out what health means to some people.”

This is why raising citizens’ awareness of resources, particularly in the area of ​​health, is a major concern for Seeds of Justice. What has helped the organization to be successful in these endeavors is its willingness to meet people on their own terms. Simon said it was about taking the time to listen and understand how people from different cultures interact.

“How do you get the message across without rushing it and doing it the mainstream culture’s way because it doesn’t work,” Simon said. “You have to take the time to fully understand all of these individuals. “

As part of this effort, Seeds of Justice is hosting events with different “ambassadors” – members of the community who can speak the language and help translate the information in a way people can understand. Simon stresses the importance of investing in the education and training of these community members, so that Seeds of Justice can honor the time and effort of those involved, as well as those they are trying to reach.

“Just being respectful of different cultural views and creating that space for people to come in and do what they need to do helps us be effective,” said Simon.

Seeds of Justice is hoping to eventually have a community center in Worthington – to create a space designed with BIPOC and the city’s minority populations in mind, which will help foster community ties while allowing easier access to resources and information available in a practical space.

“We want to be part of the decision making,” said Simon. “We want to sit at these tables and be able to make the decision that impacts the members of our community that we see suffering daily. So we go up to the height, but the barrier is enormous. It’s going to take time, but what it will take for our community to improve is what we are really trying to figure out and understand here.

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