Fatima Ponciano

Early Childhood Navigator
Growing Up Healthy Coordinator

Fatima Ponciano

Fatima joined the GUH staff in March 2021. She is an Early Childhood Navigator in Faribault and Northfield.

Where did you grow up, and how long have you lived in Faribault?

I grew up in Faribault and have lived here for about 18 years.

What is your educational and/or work background?

My mom was an original neighborhood leader when Growing Up Healthy started. Back then I was a teen, and my mom would bring me to meetings. I’d help with translating and outreach. I originally went to school for cosmetology, but it didn’t go as planned. The last time I worked with Growing Up Healthy was four years ago – I shared a position with Growing Up Healthy and HealthFinders in Faribault. My work in community outreach has never really stopped.

Why did you take this job with GUH?

It changed from the role I had before with Growing Up Healthy – I’m now working as an Early Child Navigator. I already know the community, and I’ll be helping parents access the early childhood programs. I’m a mom myself; I have a 2-year-old. The job gives me flexibility to spend time with my daughter. I’m excited to figure out what my new role will bring to the table, and how I’ll be able to help people.

What are your main job responsibilities?

I do a lot of data tracking, making sure we are meeting the goals of our grants, doing the trainings we’re asked to do. I do outreach, making sure we’re helping families with whatever questions they might have. I’m also taking over the No Kid Hungry meal distribution in the Faribault neighborhoods.

What do you like most about the job?

I like communicating and helping families out with whatever assistance they need. I also like the commute – it’s a quiet time to gather my thoughts.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Being in the unknown with COVID right now, figuring out how we’re going to gather with families, figuring out how and when we’re going to be able to go back to somewhat normal, and reach all the families we’re going to need to reach.

What are your hopes and dreams for the communities where you work?

Making a better community where we can learn to communicate, and making sure kids are growing up in a safe environment.

What do you do for fun?

I take my daughter outside. We like food – we cook, or we go out to eat or order in. We also like to watch movies.