How did I ever get so lucky? is a question that sums up Kaelea Monahan’s attitude about her work. She is a Community Health Worker with Dartmouth’s YourTime program, a new project that connects individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 with community resources. “With my counterpart in Sullivan County, Danielle Tenney, I help people gain access to basic needs like safe housing, transportation, and employment.”

She can’t really explain how she got here. Four years ago, she joined the team at Dartmouth-Hitchcock as part of the Food and Nutrition Services Department. She loved her work and found that it provided her with valuable, transferrable skills. “Time management, team work, and multitasking are valuable skills to have,” she says, “I am grateful that the Community Improvement Health team saw these skills in me and invited me to join them.”

Kaelea has found that the key to her success with YourTime is her ability to connect with the participants on a personal level. “85% of my job is relationship building,” she says. “It also helps that I took a ‘non-traditional’ path in life to get where I am – many of our program participants can really identify with that. I can really understand where they are coming from, too.”

Relationship building doesn’t stop at the office for Kaelea. When she’s not at work, she’s working full time as a wife and mother to her two-year-old daughter. “Who has time for hobbies when you’re a mom?!” Kaelea jokes.

As a Piermont native, she is proud to be actively participating in the community both at work and at home. When asked what inspires her every day, Kaelea said that “knowing that I have the ability to help others open up – even if we’re not ‘friends’ – means a lot. Sometimes just listening can change a person’s life. My clients know I’m there for them every day.”

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