We are all here to make a difference. So how cool is it when what you want, what you desire, and what you have to give, align with what you do for a living?
The essence of life is growth and if you can take your essence and put it into your work, work that changes other lives, then the world wins. When what we do, what we say and how we act are all in alignment, we radiate authenticity.
So when your mission amplifies the music of your heart, a symphony is born. Those melodic sounds echo into the narrative that becomes your story.
Everyone has a story.
I am Mark Brodinsky and this is Storytelling for Nonprofits.
Storytelling for Nonprofits: The Place for Me
“It is not just a customer-service job, it is a difference-making job!” – W. Franklin
Westley Franklin speaks those words with heart and conviction, he loves himself which translates into the love he has for others, and it shows in the work he produces.
Work that changes lives.
“One of the things that drew me to HealthCare Access Maryland is they offered the type of work I love,” says Westley. “I was looking to do something that helps people, to assist them in a meaningful, effective and impactful way. I never want to have the attitude to just do my eight hours and go home. I want to enjoy what I was doing and assist in making a difference.”
Westley knows it’s about caring and hope. He works in the care coordination department for Health Care Access Maryland. HCAM is a nonprofit agency that connects residents to public health care coverage and helps them navigate services effectively. The programs are designed to bridge gaps in services to pregnant and postpartum women, immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, youth in foster care, people with substance use disorders, individuals recently released from jail, and others. Each year the nonprofit also connects more than 145,000 uninsured and under-insured clients to health insurance, health care, and vital community resources. (http://www.healthcareaccessmaryland.org/)
Once a client is connected to Medicaid, that’s where Westley and his department step in, to provide outreach and make sure the client is maximizing their Medicaid coverage. Westley and his team also receive referrals from healthcare providers, when they need help. For example if they lose contact with a client who may have moved, or simply cannot be located.
“If we can reach these people we will try to find the barrier in the relationship with their primary care provider. It could be lack of transportation, or not being educated on the proper use of their healthcare. In most cases once we receive a referral we try to reach the client by phone at least two times, and if they can’t be reached, we go to the last known address. If we don’t get an answer there we at least leave a door hanger, telling the person to contact us. Even if it looks the person is no longer living there. It’s our procedure, but also our commitment.”
Sometimes, actually most times, commitment pays off and changes lives, including your own.
Westley says he had a recent case where he was contacted because a medical provider had lost contact with an HCAM client. Westley says he called the woman and then he visited the home, but when he got to the address it appeared to be an abandoned building. Still, he left the door hanger.
Westley picks up the story from here: “So a few days pass and I receive a phone call… and it’s the woman contacting me from the information I left – and to make a long story short this woman was living in the abandoned building, so I came back to the location and spoke with her. She was basically squatting in the house, no lights, no running water, the living conditions were not habitable. It was sad. The woman had a bad hip, she had a cane, but was supposed to have a walker. There were also multiple medications needed, related to different illnesses. It just goes to show you that without the proper education how people will just deal with things… and deal with them alone.”
“I was able to put the woman in touch with the medical provider, and I contacted our homeless services for assistance with housing, to help the woman find shelter. That’s another awesome thing about HCAM, having the ability to reach out to another department for help. Even though we have different departments we can operate as one team. This is the first organization I’ve ever seen or worked for where everything is under one roof, or within one operation. We can help people apply for healthcare, do care coordination, we have an eligibility department, behavioral health, addiction help, help for the homeless, a department that assists with foster care… all coming from the same organization. That is why I can say it is impactful and fulfilling for a person when they go home from HCAM and can say ‘I did something today that changed somebody’s life forever, or set them on a different journey.'”
Westley’s own journey has mostly been a positive one. “I was born and raised in Baltimore,” says Westley. “My childhood was a fun childhood. I remember the city well and went to school here. When I was a kid it was definitely a different type of city. I can remember an environment where the adults were more neighborly. They looked out for each other and they looked out for the children as if they were all part of their own family. There was a big emphasis on respect, honor and definitely more resources available for a young child growing up then there are now. After high school I had different retail jobs and different odds-and-ends jobs. I found that I was always working somewhere in customer service, always in service to someone, helping someone. But there is a big difference in helping a person in retail and helping someone now. How I assist people now is life-changing and personally fulfilling.”
While HCAM is currently at the core of Westley’s heart when it come to making a difference he is also, as a single father, focusing on his children and their healthy development. “I have two children, my boy is 14, my girl is 17,” says Westley. “My son is into computer technology and into music. He plays several instruments, including percussion and clarinet. My daughter wants to be an exterior and interior designer and may go into real estate. I make it a point to protect their innocence, keep them focused on their goals of success, put them it the best position to be able to succeed and make sure they understand the importance of maintaining great character and high integrity.”
Living with integrity and following your passion are what direct Westley’s internal compass. “I’m a man of gratitude,” he says. “And I never lose sight on what I have to be grateful for. I personally feed and build rapport with homeless people I come across in my travels. I’ve seen the effects of what drugs have done to communities of Baltimore. The by-products of this contributes to a lot of circumstances that create barriers in people lives. So when I saw there was a chance to help and assist, removing barriers that hinder people lives through HCAM, it was a perfect fit.”
Westley strives to be a leader and is looking for continued growth to maximize every opportunity that is presented. “There is no cap on information and knowledge and I love to learn and I’m the type of person who will forever be learning,” he says. “I read many books, books on history, motivational books… right now there are several books I’m reading, one is called Propaganda by Edward Bernays. I’m in between that book and a book by Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey.” Westley says he also loves to read comic books, “my attraction to comics is that I love stories that personify attributes and aspects of life that are not tangible. Stories that deal with real-life situations with a little fantasy sprinkled in, as well as the battle between good and evil.”
Life itself can be a battle and we all need each other, especially when the chips are down. Sharing your heart helps and if you can do that through your work, then everyone wins. Westley says he knows he’s found a winner in HCAM: “My heart is into what I do and into the organization. I believe in the mission. I usually won’t work for a company if my heart isn’t in it, because I can’t give you my best effort. One of the things that drew me to HCAM is they offer the type of work I love. Once I saw what they did and went to interview with them, I definitely believed it was the place for me. And it has been, ever since.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Want a career with HCAM? http://www.healthcareaccessmaryland.org/working-at-hcam/career-opportunties-at-hcam/
To make a donation, visit: http://www.healthcareaccessmaryland.org/
Want to share your story?
Become part of the billion. You can contact Mark at http://markbrodinsky.life/