Community Health Worker Training 2015 Program Graduate,
The Northeast Resiliency Consortium
Written by: Malika Franklin
“The beginning of the rest of your life.” This is how Charmaine Davis describes the Community Health Worker (CHW) training program at Kingsborough Community College. She thought she was living her dream career as a dental hygienist before she discovered The Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC), a Department of Labor TAACCCT program, but little did she know, her life was just about to truly begin.
Shortly after receiving her Associate’s Degree from NYU, Charmaine’s mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Charmaine’s medical training aided in the care she gave her mother. She fought cancer almost 2 years before she passed away. One of her last wishes: “Don’t let anyone else suffer like this”. To Charmaine that was one promise she knew she had to keep.
With a desire to give back to local under-served, vulnerable and underprivileged communities, she began volunteering and giving presentations at neighborhood schools and community centers to bring awareness for oral care and cancer prevention, but she still felt that she needed to do more.
Soon after losing her job in 2014, she heard about NRC’s CHW program and her curiosity piqued. With her interest in community engagement and the deep passion for her profession, she through NRC might be a good fit. “[NRC] seemed like a very interesting program, only 3-4 months of training and it offered job placement assistance. It seemed challenging, but possible at the time”
In addition to the coursework and training required for NRC, she started a non-profit for oral cancer awareness during called: “Wings of a Dove Foundation” in memory of her mother. Her CHW instructors were so valuable to her success. “Dr. Thomas was like the mother hen in a sense that she nurtured us and helped the students wherever we may have fallen weak…” Dr. Thomas encouraged her to connect with local nonprofits and Dr. Nanine, another instructor, helped her develop Wings’ website. “Honestly, all of the staff members just want to see you succeed and grow and we all felt it from day one. I’ve been in college before, but it was amazing to have instructors that cared about what you did and what you wanted to accomplish.”
Shortly after training began to become a CHW, she knew it would be her way to achieve her goals. “There is a certain stigma linked to certification programs but I think every community college should offer training programs like this…” Charmaine went on to add “If I could say anything to the upcoming community health worker trainees I would tell them that the NRC training program gives you access to a meaningful career in an industry with high demand. It opens a lot of doors for anything that is possible for those that are willing to work hard for something they believe in!”
With help from NRC’s job developers, Charmaine now works at The Smiles Program as a Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist. She has also participated in: The Flatbush YMCA – “Build A Happier, Healthier Kid” and The Pursuit of Passion: Youth Symposium. 2016 is filled with many projects and outreach efforts—a mission trip to Haiti, and the “Give Kids a Smile” campaign. Charmaine will also be coordinating NYC’s first Oral Cancer Awareness Walk/Run. Charmaine is also managing her non-profit Organization “Wings Of A Dove”, a Foundation named after her mother’s favorite gospel song and dedicated to her memory.
On behalf of the Center for Economic and Workforce Development program at Kingsborough Community College we would like to congratulate you on all that you have accomplished and all that you will continue to achieve Ms. Charmaine Davis.