By Lynette Juluke, Health Ministry President, First Mount Zion Baptist Church (Dumfries)

Have you ever had an opportunity to volunteer at an event that you thought would be just an ‘OK’ event? Have you ever wondered how your contributions would be received, perceived, or even if you would be able to give your all while doing your very best? Well, all of those questions and others were going through my mind as I mentally prepared myself to volunteer at the Convoy of Hope Woodbridge community event on June 1.

Physically, I was up for the challenge. I am passionate about this area within the healthcare arena—assisting Virginia residents in the Medicaid and FAMIS programs. While undergoing doctoral studies several years ago, I wanted my dissertation to focus on people who were uninsured and/or under-insured. This volunteer experience was my opportunity to learn more. As an Ambassador of the statewide Health Care Hope initiative, I had completed the required research and the face-to-face mandatory training that equipped me to assist applicants.

Where I failed to prepare myself was understanding the number of people, many of whom looked like me, that fell into this category. As a healthcare provider, I thought I aware of all the populations of people who were uninsured and under-insured. But I was dumbfounded that it was not just immigrants. It was truly an eye-opener to see the number of U.S citizens and working-class Americans who are in need. I was ignorant to the ramifications exposed to all residents.

On June 1, the Prince William County Health Care Hope team helped more than 75 people, providing them with information about the new income eligibility levels for Medicaid and local healthcare resources for those who did not meet the requirements and helping complete applications for those who did.

My goal is to continue heightening the awareness of those who may not be aware. I thought I was informed but I was far removed. What about you? Where do you stand when it comes to your thoughts and views about healthcare and Medicaid? What are you willing to do to assist man-kind regardless of age, color or creed? God demands this of all of us.

For more information on the Health Care Hope Ambassador Network, contact VICPP Health Equity Manager Dora Muhammad at