National Health Center Week (August 12th-18th) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades. This year’s theme is Celebrating Health Centers: Home of America’s Health Care Heroes…and at Esperanza Health Center, we’re celebrating some of our very own Health Care Heroes. Read below to learn how each of our Heroes are helping to bring health and hope to our patients and our North Philadelphia community!

Ana Lapp, RN serves as the Nurse Care Coordinator & Data Manager for Esperanza and our community.

“It is a joy and a privilege to serve Jesus by loving the brothers and sisters that I meet every day here at Esperanza.”

Meet Sasha Rivera! She diligently serves Esperanza by being our Call Center Supervisor.

“There’s not a moment that God hasn’t loved us. For those of us walking in his path, we know this. But there are people in these communities that we serve that don’t. Working at Esperanza we are able to share that overwhelming love of God with others through what we do and how we do it. Being able to help others through their physical, mental, and spiritual needs. We are able to go into these dark areas and shine a light. Being of service at Esperanza to me means to get down and lift others up, to give without expecting anything in return, but best of all to work on showing others their worth in Christ. A lot of people in this community have helped shaped me into who I am today, this is just my way of paying it back.”

As Assistant Director of Community Health and Wellness, Rachel Kim consistently steps outside the four walls of the clinic to love our community well.

“I love how we get to work as a team – coworkers, patients, community members and partners – each with different stories but working together to make a difference in ourselves, our families, neighborhood and community. None of us can do it on our own, but all of us have the privilege and joy of doing it together!”

Sandra Lopez, RN faithfully serves through her role as Head Nurse and is one of our Health Care Heroes at Esperanza!

“Albert Einstein once said, ‘How many people are trapped in their everyday habits: part numb, part frightened, part indifferent? To have a better life we must keep choosing how we’re living.’ I choose to serve and to love! Esperanza is comprised of servants seeking to be available, to come alongside and share the moments of happiness and sorrow, the trials and the victories, as well as the holistic healthcare needs of the community that Jesus Christ has called us to serve, as we find ourselves bound by His example. It is in the sharing God’s bountiful provision of grace, mercy, and unconditional love that I found the most important by-product of serving this community through Esperanza; faith in El Shaddai, the all sufficient God, and the indescribable joy of sharing His love with others.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Another of our Health Care Heroes is Stephanie Stanford. She serves as the Secretary of Esperanza’s Board of Directors, is one of our Community Health Promoters and volunteers in many other ways.

“Esperanza Health Center’s heart for the community really shines through. Programs like Community Health Promoters, the senior program Young At Heart, child literacy sessions and exercise classes are held regularly. They’ve also hosted Youth Groups, Community Arts Programs and Doula classes. There’s something here for all of us!”

Tabitha Miller, RD, LDN, CDE is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator, and she utilizes her gifts well as she walks alongside our patients as they seek better health!

“The longer I work at Esperanza, the more I realize the impact that this work has had on me personally, professionally and spiritually. I am not the same person I was when I started in the 2006. I have grown professionally in ways I never would have imagined previously. My view on the world, humanity, healthcare, and especially on what it means to love my neighbor has evolved and become more in line with what God says in His Word. I appreciate that Esperanza has not compromised on its mission over the years, and I am so grateful that I can be a part of that mission.”

Meet Cyndi Diaz! She is a devoted Medical Assistant and cares deeply for her patients.

“I did not grow up with my dad and when I began to develop a relationship with him as a young woman, he died two weeks later. I often think about what more I could have done for him? In my work at Esperanza, I feel that I love my dad through caring for my patients. I laugh and cry with them and we share our life stories. Their energy—good or bad—gives me life and purpose every day. Just like a father would do, they hold me accountable when I am not myself, and they allow me not only into the medical part of their lives, but also their victories and even the shameful stories. They help me grow in humility, reminding me deeply that Christ died for our shortcomings, and when they do great we celebrate together, because to me any progress or improvement is a window of hope, an open door for greater opportunities. I tell them all the time, ‘I believe in you, my friend–you are still here, fighting against what is trying to destroy you. So as long as you are here, change can happen, because He started the work in your life and He can and is willing to finish it for His good purpose. Your story, as painful and crazy as told, can be exactly what the next person needs to be saved.’”

Jonathan Montenegro is another one of our Health Care Heroes, serving as a Patient Access Liaison at our Kensington site. “Working at Esperanza Health Center has allowed me to show the love of Christ by serving the people of K&A with kindness. Being able to connect people to medical care has been a privilege for me.”

Our final Health Care Hero is Amy Liao, DDS. She serves as Esperanza’s Lead Dentist with the Dental Clinic team at our Kensington site. “I’m grateful to God that I can work here alongside the best team, and within an organization who teaches me how to care deeply and widely for humanity, as well as for the environment in which we live.”