CHW4EVER: Empowering BIPOC Communities with a Holistic Approach to Health in NH

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

In the realm of community health work, the term “holistic” often takes on a profound meaning. At CHW4EVER, led by Rafael Calderon, being healthy is not just about physical health; it encompasses all the social and economic factors that contribute to an individual’s well-being. Based in Southern New Hampshire, CHW4EVER is providing invaluable support to individuals and businesses by bridging the gap between communities and essential resources. 

“As a BIPOC business owner, I was hesitant to seek help until a community member vouched for Rafael’s integrity. Rafael went above and beyond, helping. On his day off, he drove me to Concord, NH to register my new business Paraiso Bar and Grill, helping me with Spanish interpreting, translating documents and securing a solution to keep my first business Antojitos Colombianos by having regular lunch business meetings with his colleagues there, referring new customers, and connecting me with a new catering client.” – Andrea Perez, owner of Antojitos Colombianos, Manchester, NH

At the core of CHW4EVER’s mission is the recognition that communities are not homogeneous entities. Each individual has a unique set of needs, shaped by cultural, social, and economic factors. Rafael’s work is about meeting people where they are, understanding their struggles, and empowering them with the tools to lead healthier, more fulfilled lives. One poignant example of Rafael’s work was about rebuilding familial bonds and restoring hope.

“Rafael was a lifeline when my son struggled with alcohol abuse. Through MCAC’s  “Pathways For Healing” program, he provided guidance and support that was instrumental in my son’s recovery. When I later faced housing challenges, Rafael was there again, showing me that CHW4EVER is more than just a program. He helped with transportation to medical appointments, obtaining our NH ID, and translating complex applications. CHW4EVER ensured we had access to food programs, easing our food insecurity. Rafael’s dedication is unmatched.” – Lela Florel, Manchester, NH

Through CHW4EVER, Rafael aims to redefine community health work, moving away from the limitations of traditional programs towards a more inclusive, personalized, and community-centered model. From assisting individuals in finding employment to accompanying them to doctor’s appointments as interpreters, this holistic approach recognizes that health is intertwined with social determinants, such as housing stability, income, and access to healthcare.

“Rafael helped me get my first job in 2013 when I first moved to New Hampshire, and then in 2022 got me into a BIPOC small business program so that I could stop working odd jobs and start my own business to better provide for my young family.  When I had transportation issues to register my business in Concord, NH he drove me and my two kids there. Now, I have a full-time job as a plumber and work on my business part-time. I am proud to be able to better provide for my family and create a legacy for my two kids.” – Theo Gee, owner of T&O Handyman Services, Manchester, NH 

CHW4EVER’s Wheel of Life Philosophy, introduced by Rafael, helps people to find balance through a combination of health, their jobs and careers, family and personal relationships, fun and recreation, companionship, education, financial literacy, and spiritual guidance. The goal of Rafael’s work is to empower individuals to achieve their full potential and live a fulfilling life. 

“I initially reached out seeking help with a restaurant venture, but Rafael guided me towards my passion for home-based childcare. With CHW4EVER’s support, we navigated the process of starting Purpura Childcare LLC, from registering the business to obtaining permits and inspections. Rafael’s dedication and role as an interpreter have been crucial in this journey.” – Yumilka Tejada, owner of Purpura Childcare LLC, Manchester, NH

A key theme around CHW4EVER’s work is the disconnect between well-meaning organizations and the communities they aim to serve. Often, programs designed with good intentions fall short due to a lack of cultural competence and practical support. 

“We turned to Rafael for help in obtaining a grant. His assistance was pivotal, leading Bravo Cleaning Services LLC to receive around $9,600.00. We’re grateful for CHW4EVER’s ongoing support.” – Edward H. Silverio, owner of Bravo Cleaning Services LLC, Manchester, NH.

Rafael emphasizes the need for someone who can guide individuals through bureaucratic processes and ensure they receive the assistance they deserve. Another example is a business struggling to find its footing until Rafael supported them by instilling confidence and providing guidance. 

“When we needed help with purchasing a building for Progeneral Construction LLC, Rafael was there. His consultative sales program transformed our approach, resulting in three successful sales out of six consultations.” – Jose Felipe Garcia, Progeneral Construction LLC, Hooksett, NH

Rafael’s passion for his work shines brightly. He envisions a world where CHW4EVER becomes a statewide resource, a beacon of hope for BIPOC communities navigating the complex systems that traditionally underserve them. 

“Upon learning that Rafael was working independently through CHW4EVER, we reached out directly. He’s now helping us secure a Kiva loan for Tropical Food To Go.” – Victor Rodriguez, Coraly Rodriguez, Corayma Correa, owners of Tropical Food to Go, Manchester, NH

The success stories shared here are just a glimpse into the transformative community health work of Rafael and CHW4EVER. Despite its modest beginnings, this holistic home-based consultancy continues to make a profound difference in the lives of individuals and the community as a whole. Whether it’s overcoming personal challenges, navigating business ventures, or accessing vital resources, CHW4EVER is truly empowering communities, one success story at a time.