Offering a Hand up, Not a Hand Out
Valerie Andrews, a community leader in south Sacramento, California, plans to use her 2021 CHEST Foundation grant to continue serving as a conduit between residents with asthma and their doctors. She is the Founder and Program Director of the JUDAHH Project, a nonprofit organization that provides a wide range of services for the underserved community of south Sacramento. The goal of JUDAHH—which stands for “Just Us Delivering A Helping Hand”—is to help empower residents with a “hand up” instead of a “hand out.”
The foundation grant is for an asthma mitigation program to educate the community on asthma detection, treatment, and management. This includes teaching residents how to use their inhaler, the importance of developing a personal asthma action plan, and the right questions to ask their doctor. JUDAHH also offers home visits to conduct an asthma trigger assessment and help remediate environmental triggers in partnership with Regional Asthma Mitigation Project (RAMP).
“I had a 60-year-old African American lady come into my office and literally break down in tears because she didn’t understand how to utilize her asthma inhaler,” Andrews said. “And let me tell you, she was on five different medications, and she said she was too embarrassed to ask her doctor. Those are the people we’re impacting… [I]t’s the education people need.”
Her goal for the initiative was first to impact 50 people. But when she connected with residents to research the demand for asthma education, she discovered the need far exceeded what she had anticipated. Now, she wants to expand her reach to at least 100 people before 2023.
“They just need a helping hand. They need a friendly face. They need someone who they trust,” Andrews said. “So me, as a community supporter—I just feel compelled to help out. To be that conduit between them and their doctor.”