Chief Program Officer Evelyn Lopez has an active and passionate commitment to the core values of DEIB work. She is not just driven by these principles, but she is also deeply committed to them, integrating them into the heart of her work and leadership style.
Name: Evelyn Lopez
Title: Chief Program Officer
How long have you been with LGBT Life Center? 2 years and 10 months.
Tell us a little bit about the work you do at The Center?
As a critical member of the leadership of the organization, a big part of my job is to collaboratively articulate, implement, and operationalize the strategic vision, mission, and goal of the agency. I oversee all the portfolio of programs, ensuring program services are delivered according to existing organization structure, as well as lead integration, analysis, and assessment for continuous improvements, adjustments, and changes. On a daily basis, I review charts, validate services, review service documentation, and observe the delivery of services. Among the specific goals for my position are the diversification of funding and increasing 3rd party revenue.
Tell us about a time you helped a client: I can think of many situations; feeding a homeless client while waiting for their care navigator, conducting transportation services, providing food from our Pride Pantry, but lately, it is helping undocumented clients navigate the healthcare system and supporting their language barrier.
Although I don’t serve clients directly, I am committed and passionate about the population we serve. Working with undocumented Spanish-speaking clients, I encountered lack of knowledge regarding HIV/STI and their disconnection with navigating our healthcare system. These clients are challenged with lack of documentation, trauma experience while traveling away from home, proof of income even though they are working, and most of all, lack of trust. The clients were linked to care, and barriers for medication diminished.
We help clients by creating a warm and welcoming environment where they feel we are here to help them. We don’t need to speak the same language; we must listen with cultural humility to engage them and to be trusted. In practice, start with basic needs and move forward. We provided these clients with flexibility of schedules to meet them in the evening, escort them to medical appointments, pantry services, printing documentation in Spanish for them to read, and provide referrals to legal to help with documentation. We are trusted when we create a plan that is actively meeting their needs and increasing their opportunities for health and wellness.
It reinforces the fact that we are working at LGBT Life Center to be of service to the Hampton Roads communities.
The clients felt that they had someone on their side, willing to support them and to help them with significant barriers.
What do you love most about your colleagues? They are friendly and open to discuss DEIB issues and carry bold conversations.
What do you love most about working at The Center? It’s transformative nature to be relevant for the community we serve.
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