Voices of Esperanza: Janneza Roane
For Janneza Roane, Esperanza’s Kensington Office Manager, the health center has been a part of her life for almost as long as she can remember. As a child growing up in the neighborhood
near Esperanza’s current Kensington site, Janneza was a patient at Esperanza’s very first clinic location on N. 5th Street, as were her mother and her sister, Rosa, who now serves as Esperanza’s Behavioral Health Department Administrator.
Janneza, Rosa and her mother are still Esperanza patients, and her children and husband are also patients. Said Janneza: “From working at Esperanza and also being served as a patient, I really see how everyone cares for my family and our community. We try our best to make people feel like there’s hope!”
As one example of this care, when Janneza’s daughter, Ciarra, was seeking a ROTC scholarship that would enable her to attend Drexel University, one of the requirements was to run two miles in 17 minutes. Esperanza’s Wellness Assistant, Kara Pilkinton, who was leading a community running group, took time out of her schedule to train with Ciarra individually. Ciarra passed the test and will finish her sophomore year this spring. Another example was when her son, Brandon, was having difficulties in school with reading. His Esperanza
pediatrician, Dr. Christopher Leander and the behavioral health team helped Brandon to obtain needed assessments. As a result, Brandon was able to start an individualized educational plan, which has helped him to succeed in school.
Since joining Esperanza in 2010 as a Clerical Assistant, Janneza has grown personally as well as professionally. After earning her Associate in Science degree in Business Administration, in December 2018 Janneza earned her Bachelor’s degree from Peirce College in Philadelphia. “When I started out at Esperanza and was working on my Associate in Science degree, I was given the opportunity to take on leadership responsibilities, and that encouraged me to continue my education,” explained Janneza. “It really helped me to know that yes, I can achieve. Growing up in this neighborhood, when you graduate from high school, typically that’s it as far as your education.”
With our new Kensington Health Center opening in 2019, Janneza looks forward to new opportunities to serve more patients and expand Esperanza’s program offerings. Said Janneza: “I’m so excited that we’ll have new services that Kensington really needs: medication-assisted treatment, financial counseling and healthy eating at our new Café. There is so much potential in this community, but there aren’t enough people who are willing to invest. I was able to grow because people wanted to invest in me. When people see that there are others who want to invest here in Kensington, it gives them hope.”
Fun and Fitness Together with FamilyFit at EHC!
Now its fourth year, the Esperanza FamilyFit program is a six-week initiative for family members of all ages that combines fun group activities, including art, nutrition education, and yoga, Zumba and other fitness activities in partnership with HealthPartnersPlans. A group
meeting time during each session, which is facilitated by one of Esperanza’s behavioral health consultants, gives families the opportunity to share with one another and promotes healthy family dynamics. Families have loved the program so much that several “FamilyFit Reunion” gatherings have taken place after the class has ended!
What’s in a name? In the case of the Phoenix Café, which launched its new name on April 15th—a lot! Since Esperanza’s café first opened at our Hunting Park site in 2012, it has served community members, patients and staff, offering healthy, delicious menu items at affordable prices. With plans to open a second café location at our new Kensington Health Center later this year, a contest to re-name the café was extended to the community, and the name
“Phoenix Café” was selected.
The new name holds significant meaning relative to the North Philadelphia community. The phoenix is a mythical bird that obtains new life by arising from its ashes. As a faith-based organization, we see the clear connection of the name “phoenix” to Christ rising from the dead—and, how this name also speaks to the neighborhoods we work and live in and to the restoration and renewal happening here. In 2007, a former horse blanket factory located behind the future location of our new Kensington Health Center burned to the ground.
Many houses were also destroyed or damaged in the blaze. The lot where the factory burned down was named Phoenix Park by community members, to recognize something beautiful that rose from the ashes of that destructive fire. With strong community support, Esperanza was able to acquire this lot in 2017, where our new Community Health & Wellness Center will be built. The name Phoenix Café acknowledges the gift of this land from the community—and, that our new Café is for them.
As Justin Perry, Esperanza’s Associate Director of Operations and manager of the Phoenix Café noted, things are off to a great start. “It has been an amazing few weeks in the new Phoenix Café. We rolled out our new look and also added new items to our menu. The feedback has been very positive from our loyal customers and our new ones!! Our goal is to create an inviting space with fresh and healthy food for patients, staff and community members. We are achieving that goal and hope to achieve even more in the future. Please visit us and find more information at thephoenixcafe.org.”
There are many current open positions at Esperanza, across a range of departments, both clinical and non-clinical. Learn more and apply online by clicking the link below:
If you are interested in volunteering at Esperanza: please visit our Volunteering page and contact Karen Norris, Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com to find out how you can be involved!