Putting life experience to work: Community Connect resource navigator shares her story
Liss Idrovo-Perdomo immigrated to the United States with her family from Ecuador when she was 17 years old. She vividly remembers the challenges her family faced, whether the language or cultural barriers. Years later when she became a mom, her focus was on providing as many supportive resources for her kids as possible.
“How do I make sure my kids have a better life?” Liss asked herself. She began to search the community, and she was stunned to find so many resources available to families. Since her kids spoke Spanish at home, she enrolled them in a community program to learn English. She found other resources for them, including camps and programs focused on art and science.
Liss worked hard to open doors for both her kids and herself. She worked her way up from a minimum wage job to becoming a medical translator. Three years ago, she was recruited to join Children’s Minnesota’s Community Connect program when it first launched. The program is transforming Children’s Minnesota’s approach to health care by connecting families to existing community resources, including housing, food and other needs.
“We know firsthand the struggles of these communities and we have a passion for helping their children,” Liss said about the group of resource navigators. “The little things that I’ve learned in my life, I put it into my work… I’ve fought hard to build a different life for my two kids. Being a Latina and a young single mother of two, I’ve been there.”
Thanks to the support of generous donors throughout the community, Community Connect resource navigators like Liss have served more than 5,200 families since it first launched in 2017. Even during the pandemic, the program has continued to innovate and find ways to support families in our community.
About Community Connect at Children’s Minnesota
Community Connect, which is partially funded by a generous grant from Kohl’s Cares and donors throughout our community, is a foundational step in the pursuit of Children’s Minnesota’s vision to be every family’s essential partner in raising healthier children. We know kids’ experiences at home, in school, and in their neighborhoods are the biggest drivers of overall health and well-being. Community Connect is a systematized approach that allows Children’s Minnesota to be responsive to families’ social support needs, with particular attention to families of color and Native American families who experience greater disparities in health outcomes. The program helps connect families to existing community resources, including food, transportation services, legal assistance, housing support, early childhood education programs, employment search assistance and much more.
Clinicians at Children’s Minnesota begin by having families take a screening about the social determining factors of health. Clinicians then make real-time referrals to resource navigators, who then design a responsive plan of action to help that family on an on-going basis.