This spring, several new fitness and nutrition initiatives for our community have started at Esperanza Health Center! Our new Zumba group exercise classes, led by Christe Lee, Manager of Café and Exercise Programs, began in April and have been a great success to date — classes are held Monday and Thursday evenings in the Hunting Park facility’s multi-purpose gymnasium and have averaged 25 participants. “I love the class! I have so much fun and really enjoy myself,” says Sandra, who lives near the health center and walks to the classes with her friend, Alexandria. For more information about Zumba classes, please contact Christe at (215) 302-3150, ext. 376.

We’re also excited about new nutrition education classes for children led by dietitian Christina Yi, RD, LDN. During several classes this spring, children from neighboring Hunting Park Christian Academy and the Ayuda Community Center after-school program learned how to make vegetable quesadillas and fruit smoothies — with samples for everyone! Additional classes are being planned for this summer and again in the fall.

And, on June 11th we opened our new café at the Hunting Park facility, serving Esperanza’s patients, staff and community residents! The menu includes coffee, juice, fresh fruit, bagels, yogurt, granola bars and other snack items. The café is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9:00 to 11:00 am and 12 noon to 2:00 pm.

It’s through the generous support of partners in ministry like you that these new community-based health and wellness programs are possible!  To make a secure, online donation to help Esperanza sustain and expand these new initiatives, please click here.

Seeing Jesus at Esperanza

Each of our patient hubs has a small box like the one pictured here. Our staff members, patients and visitors can fill out response cards to share where they have seen God at work in some way at the health center; the boxes have been a great way for us to give thanks to God!

Enid Maldonado, clerical assistant at Hunting Park, recently shared a story about God at work. A few days ago, a middle-aged woman named Rosa* came to the Hunting Park facility for the first time. Rosa explained to Enid that she had just flown to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico and had suffered a small stroke while on the plane. The doctors who treated Rosa on the flight told her that she needed to see a doctor right away. Rosa was concerned because she didn’t have any health insurance and had just arrived in Philadelphia. She wasn’t sure how she could pay for her doctor’s visit. Enid explained to Rosa about Esperanza’s self-pay program, where patients without insurance are asked to pay a small co-payment. After hearing this, Rosa said that she couldn’t afford the $15 amount because she had no income. Two other patients in the waiting area who had overheard the conversation approached Rosa, and together they gave her the $15 co-payment. Rosa was totally surprised by their generosity, and thanked these two women for helping her.

Rosa received the medical care she needed that day, and left the health center having been cared for not only by Esperanza but also by her new community. Enid was touched by what had happened that morning: “My immediate response was, “Wow — there really are people who care!'” When Enid told the story to her coworker, she encouraged Enid to write the story down and put it in the “I Saw Jesus Today” box, because of the great way that she had just seen God at work.
(* Patient’s name has been changed to protect her identity.)

Hunting Park Dispensary Opens!

In early May, the new medication dispensary at Esperanza’s Hunting Park facility officially opened! Now, Esperanza’s patients are able to obtain discounted prescription medications at all three health center locations. George Petrella (photo, R), who has been an Esperanza patient for the past several years and now receives care at the Hunting Park site, said that he appreciates having convenient access to the dispensary when he comes for an office visit. Said Anna DelVecchio, who recently joined Esperanza as Hunting Park Dispensary Coordinator, “I’m excited to be a part of Esperanza — we’re really thankful that we can provide medications to our patients here as we continue to grow.”

Summer Health Outreach in the City

On Saturday, June 2nd, Esperanza took part in the annual K&A Market Fest event, which was attended by over 4,000 people. Esperanza staff members ChrisAnne Smith, Lilliana Estrada, and Eric Alicea participated in the event along with community health promoters Jennifer Acosta and Ana Ocasio; a total of 53 individuals received blood pressure screenings at Esperanza’s booth in front of the Kensington site. It was the first of many community and church-based outreach events throughout North Philadelphia that we’ll participate in this summer. From July 7 through 28, the Summer Medical Institute (SMI) Philadelphia will take place for the third consecutive summer. Esperanza will partner with Medical Campus Outreach as teams of medical and health professions students, Esperanza staff members and volunteers from local churches and the community will conduct door-to-door health screenings and evangelistic outreach with hundreds of Kensington community residents. Please join us in praying for these health outreach initiatives!

Opportunities at Esperanza

Please visit our website’s Opportunities page to learn more about current openings. To learn more about volunteering at Esperanza, click here.

If you have any questions about Esperanza, please contact Ted Voboril, Development Director by e-mail at or at 215-807-8614.