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Mid-City CAN Blog

Volunteers spread word about Obamacare, bus pass

Barbara Nevarez is one of Mid-City CAN's promotoras, or community health workers. She is among a small group of volunteers who are doing community outreach about Obamacare and the Youth Opportunity (Bus) Pass, a pilot program that gives a thousand students at Crawford, Hoover, Lincoln and San Diego high school bus passes. The promotoras began their outreach efforts in October.

By Barbara Nevarez (translated from Spanish)

Barbara NevarezI began coming to the Mid-City CAN Improving Transport in City Heights momentum team meetings two years ago.

That is the group that advocated for the Youth Opportunity Passes. Transportation is important, especially for young people who don't have the resources to buy a bus pass. Many families with only one car can't pick their children up until late, and that is dangerous for the students. It is important for students to be safe at home and avoid problems with gangs. It is dangerous out there. The bus passes are good for students who are looking for jobs, who play sports, and are pursuing other opportunities.

More bus ridership also reduces pollution.

When I began volunteering, I went from home to home and to lots of trainings. I attended groups and asked people to fill out applications. I served food at the food bank and gave people applications and information.

I talk about both the Youth Opportunity Pass and Obamacare. A lot of people at Hoover ask for the Youth Opportunity Pass applications.

I talk to about 80 people a week. When I share the food, I talk to people. I tell people that they have to register for Obamacare by March 31. They have to have insurance at that time. I refer them to different organizations to sign up. (For a complete list and more information, click here.)

I also give them forms to register to vote. I do a weekly report with the number of people I talk to. I talk to many people. I tell them with Obamacare, when you are older than 21, you can still qualify.

I am in front of Monroe Clark Middle School every week, usually from around 10 to 3 p.m. More people that are young adults are asking about Obamacare, or people who have insurance in Mexico. They ask me whether Mexican insurance covers them here too, and I tell them 'no.' I have to tell undocumented college students that they don't qualify for Obamacare. A lot of people don't like to talk about it publicly. They just want to leave their phone number, and I call them with information. A lot of parents are undocumented, but have children who are U.S. citizens. A lot of people are really private about it, but they do have lots of questions.

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