Erika joined the GUH team in January 2020. She’s a Growing Up Healthy Coordinator and Early Childhood Navigator in Northfield.
Where did you grow up, and how long have you lived in Northfield?
My family lived in Oregon and New Jersey before moving to Minnesota. We were in Albert Lea for four years and came to Northfield when I was 12. I’ve lived here for 16 years.
What is your educational and/or work background?
I worked with kids at St. Dominic’s as the afterschool coordinator for two and a half years before taking this job. I’ve also worked for Syngenta, McLane, and the Clothes Closet.
Why did you take this job with GUH?
When Laura (Baltazar) joined GUH and told me what she did, how she worked with families and kids, I thought, that’s too good to be true! It’s what I wanted to do.
What are your main job responsibilities?
Setting up times for parents to get their kids screened for preschool, and helping them find affordable preschools.
What do you like most about the job?
I like being part of the community, and helping out everyone who needs help. It doesn’t matter what race they are – everyone’s human. If they have questions, I want to have the answers.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Sometimes communicating with families is challenging. I’ll give them information, and when I need a response back by a certain day, I feel like I’m constantly nagging them. When you’re helping somebody, it takes time to build that relationship and get them to trust you.
What are your hopes and dreams for the community where you work?
My dream is for people not to be judged for the resources they need and the services they receive. People actually do need the help.
What do you do for fun?
I collect Halloween stuff – I’m a big fanatic.