VIDA Community Health Workers

Bright Beginnings Advocacy, Community

Serving Families Impacted by COVID-19

The goal: Support residents that have tested positive for or otherwise been impacted by COVID-19 with the resources they need to stay resilient, isolate, and prevent the spread of the virus.

The dilemma: Many are faced with an impossible choice: to isolate and lose wages, or the job that feeds and houses their family, or go to work and put others at risk of being infected.

The solution: 100+ VIDA (Virus Integrated Distribution of Aid) Community Health Workers that reach people where they are, in their own neighborhoods and communities, to connect them with resources to more easily isolate, to address COVID-19 safety, and to access community resources. VIDA Community Health Workers are multilingual, including Spanish, English, Triqui, Zapoteco, and Mixteco. About a dozen community organizations coordinate to reach on average 20,000 people a month.

Adriana Santana from Mujeres en Acción says, “As a leader that organized to make this project a reality, I feel proud to now be a Community Health Worker. I like to hear the needs of families and be able to do something. I have helped families by delivering food, making appointments for tests and vaccines. I have seen the happiness of the families when they receive support.”

VIDA was seeded through a one-time County investment in late 2020. The project is coordinated by the County Administrative Office, Health Department, and the Community Foundation for Monterey County, and has garnered additional funding from Together Toward Health of the Public Health Institute and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. In close partnership with First 5 Monterey County, Bright Beginnings is proud to connect the effort to reflective practice circles, diapers, shelter-in-play boxes, and children’s books.

VIDA is changing the way health disparities, due to poverty and structural racism, are addressed. We hope this important program continues to grow to address the evolving needs of the community as we begin to recover from the early stages of the pandemic. We are in it together for the long run, changing the way our systems serve us all. 

Watch this short video, visit the website, and read the Monterey Herald article to learn more.