It’s been a Summer of Celebrations here at Center for Health Progress and after the kind of year that we’ve all had, we needed it! Growing up in a large, extended family, I learned the importance of celebrations – from birthdays and quinceaneras, graduations, anniversaries, and retirements, my family knows how to throw a party! One of the main reasons celebrating is so important is because it reflects an overall attitude of gratitude and enjoying what we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t have or only on what we want in the future.
According to research conducted by Professors Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael McCullough (University of California Davis and University of Miami, respectively), people who cultivate a daily attitude of celebration and gratitude have more energy, less stress and anxiety, are more likely to help others, exercise more frequently, sleep better, have improved physical health, and actually make greater progress toward achieving personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based). And it doesn’t take great effort to get these results — these benefits were reported by people who simply made a weekly list of things for which they were grateful.
We know celebration is not just important for individuals, but also for our team. Celebrations of milestones and goals achieved provide us the opportunity to take a much-needed break, to reset, and then to set even bigger and bolder targets. Celebrations even let us reflect on the right path forward before setting out on it, and to build confidence for the future by acknowledging what we’ve been able to achieve in the past. Our organizing and power-building work often builds on the success of movements familiar to our communities – the Chicano Movement being one example.
Here in Pueblo, we gathered at Mineral Palace Park on a Saturday in mid-June with a taco truck, loads of family friendly games, and resources from several community partners including Head Start, the Pueblo Food Project, Catholic Charities, and our local university, CSU-Pueblo to celebrate the on-going work our caracol member leaders are doing. They’ve been a significant force for connecting folks to vital services in the time of COVID and they accomplished great things in the area of vaccine equity. We celebrated:
Koralia - specialist in organizing events and leadership opportunities, leader in access to health and advocate for autism needs, and vaccine equity lead.
Adriana - leader in access to health and advocate for autism needs, vaccine access navigator and support for P-EBT.
Maria - specialist in organizing events and leadership opportunities for the caracoles, P-EBT support and vaccine navigator.
Brenda - access to education and navigator specialist, advocate and support for DACA students and parents. Brenda also provided testimony in support of our legislative bills.
Esperanza - food access specialist, vaccine navigator and P-EBT support. Esperanza and her family were featured in our documentary, The Essentials.
Julia - a “do it all” individual, always eager to help, especially around food access and sharing of resources. Julia is a danzante with Grupo Xochitl.
Patricia - vaccine equity lead and a main caracol support, specialist in access to health and advocate for autism needs, P-EBT and food access support.
Ana - health professional, vaccine navigator and P-EBT support, also featured in The Essentials.
Aide - driver’s license specialist, vaccine navigator and P-EBT support.
Andrea - vaccine navigator and P-EBT support.
Dinorah - P-EBT specialist, vaccine navigator.
Silvia - youth specialist and leader in our youth organizing.
Teresa - P-EBT specialist and resource navigator.
At the end of June, we gathered with the community of Fort Morgan to host our People Power awards! La Michoacana donated delicious ice cream paletas and we played a few rounds of Pandemic Loteria/BINGO. The event was MC’d by our organizer, Perla Rodriguez who spoke passionately about the ways the pandemic centered a magnifying glass on the systemic issues the community has been dealing with for decades. Center for Health Progress celebrated:
Susana – director of One Morgan County who collaborates a great deal with Perla and provides significant personal support.
Gloria – expert in helping immigrants secure their drivers licenses and impressive community connector for a variety of community needs.
Meryle – emerging young adult leader featured in our documentary, The Essentials.
Guadalupe – partner from the organization, Ni Una Mas, and expert in navigating immigration sysytems and legal processes for immigrants.
Andrea - migrant liaison for BOCES with a personal and professional relationship to our work.
Cindy – fighter for justice, willing to take risks for stand up for what is right!
One Morgan County – our most important local partner, particularly important in our on-going vaccine work, especially for and among local manufacturers.
All of the awards presented in both communities stated, "the strength of what we achieve is rooted in the power of community." And as Perla so beautifully said, “We all want to live in a world that respects the dignity we all have regardless of our income, where we live, what our immigration status is, or the color of our skin. Together, we have the power to shape this world: a world where we all have access to health.”
We hope you’re having a summer of celebrations! Celebration is a necessary and joyous part of life. Most of us appreciate the importance of this in our personal lives but forget about it in our professional ones. Center for Health progress is always working to create a culture of joy and gratitude in our workplaces and in the communities where we live. Come on, let’s throw a party!