Claudia knows all too well what it feels like to sit at home, too depressed to even leave the house. Not so many years ago, she was the woman who had just moved here from Mexico knowing no one, not speaking the language. She had little money, no job, no transportation. “It was hard to find my place in this community,” she recalled.
It took real courage for her to accept a friend’s invitation to come to CORE/El Centro.
“I was so nervous. I didn’t know if they would welcome me,” she explained. “But this is a very special place. The people are so very kind, so human.” Within days, her emotions began to change. She learned in the Nia class to move in ways that brought her joy to replace the sadness. After a check-up at the health clinic, she received pills to ease her depression. She discovered the healing ways of massage, reiki and acupuncture. Thanks to a sliding scale, she was able to afford all the help that was offered to her.
“I began to feel better and see the world with other colors,” she said.
Then she was in a car accident, plunging her once again into a deep depression. It was a health promoter from Proyecto Salud who reached out, urging Claudia to return to classes and get help in healing her injuries. Once Claudia returned to Nia and Zumba classes, she began to feel more sure of herself and not afraid to speak openly from her heart. Her new confidence gave her the determination to lose 40 pounds.
That’s when CORE/El Centro asked her to become a health promoter, teaching others from her own experiences. “I like being an example to people. I tell people, the main thing is to stay motivated. It doesn’t work if you come just once or twice and then don’t come back. When you exercise and start taking control, begin eating well, then you’ll see results.
Claudia now looks forward to teaching the Nia classes that have been such a help to her. She also works as a health promoter to encourage others to use the healing resources available through CORE/El Centro. But she knows that she has to keep moving to stay healthy. “When I exercise, that’s my pill. Otherwise, the depression will come back again. That’s the message I keep repeating to people. You’ve got to keep practicing. That’s what helps me – and it will work for you too.”