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Nikki on Paying it Forward

Nikki Haynesworth - Rochester, New York

Nikki is the program coordinator for Women on the Move at St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center and shares how the agency fills the gaps in terms of medical care in the community.

She came across the neighborhood center when she was doing research for a small nonprofit in the city. After she graduated from college she was working and living without healthcare. When she felt sick she just went to the emergency room- leading to medical debt. When she found the neighborhood center she began getting medical care there.

She describes her experience as a bit strange because she "was treated so well." For most of her adult life she was a part of the working poor, was on Medicaid, and had a negative view of the medical community. When she attended the neighborhood center she felt cared for in a place where people felt genuinely concerned about her health.

In the process of her treatment at the center she also began counseling. Her counselor referred her to the Woman on the Move group, which is a 2 hour a week, nine month program run at the center to lead women toward economic empowerment. Through the group she learned about economic language, credit counseling, debt management, self esteem, wellness, self awareness, and other topics. The group encouraged her to continue her education- she has been accepted to graduate school and is working on her licensure for mental health counseling.

Nikki's main takeaway from her experiences at the clinic was not only wellness but kindness and paying it forward.