AmeriCorps and Healthcare Network: Improving Healthcare
Access in Collier County
By Antonello Castaldi
Healthcare Network, which since its founding in 1977 in
Immokalee has pursued a mission of combating healthcare inequity across Collier
County, has partnered with AmeriCorps and Volunteer Florida to help connect the
underserved to health services.
Healthcare Network is one of two organizations in Florida
that were selected to receive a grant to start an AmeriCorps Public Health
program. AmeriCorps members serve as community liaisons in Immokalee and
Naples, helping to improve access to care through community health services for
the community, increasing health knowledge and improved access to medical care.
“As someone who is from Immokalee and has received services
from Healthcare Network, and having previously served as an AmeriCorps member,
I am thrilled to have this program within the community of Collier County and
being the AmeriCorps Program Coordinator for Healthcare Network said Diosili
Salazar AmeriCorps Program Coordinator. “Being able to represent
AmeriCorps within community efforts has been rewarding, and helping others
ensure that they receive vital health resources reinforces the mission of Healthcare
AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to
tackle the country’s most pressing challenges through national service.
AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors serve with organizations dedicated to
the improvement of communities.
AmeriCorps members are selected and managed by their host
organization and spend a year addressing issues critical to the organization’s
mission. Healthcare Network’s grant specifically targets the areas of Immokalee
and Golden Gate City in Collier County, which are historically underserved
communities. This grant will ensure that access to health is given to those who
need it most, with emphasis on ensuring that they receive the care they need.
with the AmeriCorps program has been very good to me,” said Leticia Manon,
AmeriCorps member. “I’m learning many new things,
and I have the opportunity to do what I like, which
is help people in my community. I’m very grateful that this program exists because it
helps me, and I can help others in need.”
AmeriCorps members need to have a high school diploma or GED
and their age range from 17 to 99. They will serve through July 2024 for the
current cycle, but new opportunities will be available alongside Healthcare
Network’s Outreach Team performing various tasks, including:
Serving as translators to resolve any barriers
Providing valuable information to those who
would benefit from Healthcare Network’s resources and services.
Building connections with the community to
increase trust towards clinics and health care providers.
Following up with patients to ensure they have
Serving in community events to provide
information, services and connecting potential patients with Healthcare Network
Gaining skills and experience working within
Collaborating with community outreach to
increase awareness of Healthcare Network.
Serving the communities where they live.
Volunteer Florida administers the AmeriCorps program across
the state. AmeriCorps is a national service program that provides opportunities
for individuals to serve their communities. in exchange for a living stipend,
educational award and valuable on-the-job
with the AmeriCorps program has been insightful, inspirational and
encouraging,” said AmeriCorps member Leslie Escalante. “I have made connections
with various people. Through all the abilities to achieve certifications, I can
continue to grow into what I aspire to become, which is a registered nurse. I
am grateful that they have allowed me to be part of something meaningful and
contribute towards the community.”
Antonello Castaldi manages the volunteer
program for Healthcare Network.To learn more about AmeriCorps or other ways to
get involved with Healthcare Network, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 239.658.3730.