It takes a village

Dad discovers health, wellness and parenting resources via IEHP

It’s true – Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) Community Resources Centers help people live healthier lives, but what if they could bring a father and son closer together?


Such was the case for IEHP member and father, Braulio M., and his son, Braulio Jr. 




It was just this past February when Braulio, 28, struggling with weight issues, called IEHP to seek help. An IEHP member since the age of 11, Braulio had become accustomed to contacting his health plan when he needed assistance, knowing they would always point him in the right direction. 


“I called asking about weight counseling and they referred me to the healthy eating classes at the (IEHP) Victorville Community Resource Center,” he said. “They even arranged for transportation to take me there and back, which has been a huge benefit.” 


Once there, Braulio discovered a world of free resources that he didn’t know existed. And he dove right in!


And yet, Braulio is the reason IEHP’s community resource centers exist, including in outlying parts of the health plan’s service area, said Manager Delia Orosco.


“The programming is what brings the people in – and once here, we wrap our arms around them by addressing care gaps,” she said.


In essence, the community resource center staff provides free health education opportunities and connects members with their physician as well as to social services, i.e., Community Health Workers and other partners.


But for Delia and her team, the best part of what they do is member centric.


“The people are why we do what we do,” she said. “There's true joy in seeing people leave different from when they walked through the doors. Not just a physical difference but one of hope.”


Attending the center four to five times a week, Braulio took every fitness class, health and wellness class, cooking class and even brought along 5-year-old Braulio Jr. to attend kids’ classes in yoga and Zumba. When asked which was his favorite, he couldn’t choose just one.


“I love them all,” said Braulio, who lives in Adelanto, California. “They each offer something different and have their own value. The instructors are full of energy and very motivational. My son’s favorite was the kids’ yoga with Irene on Saturdays.” 




Of course, at IEHP the member is placed “at the center of our universe,” so Braulio was also connected to a case worker who helped him sign up for utility assistance, walked him through his In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) application and made sure he and his son received every benefit they could qualify for.


After seeing a flyer for an external class on parenting, Braulio took advantage of that education as well.


“The parenting course was very beneficial,” he said. “And after losing 26 pounds, I found it much easier to play with my son more at the park.” 


Braulio was astonished by the level of care and attention he received from the center and its team members.


“Everyone is so friendly there,” he said. “One thing that surprised me was after two weeks of me not showing up, Lorraine called me for a wellness check and asked how I was doing.


“Like, they noticed I wasn’t there. That was really cool.”


While Braulio’s attendance from four to five days a week declined a bit with Braulio Jr. in school, he plans to continue a consistent routine of at least two to three weekly father-son visits.


For now, this Inland Empire dad remains grateful for all the valuable support and for being a part of “the health plan with a heart.”


“The whole experience has been life changing for me,” he said. “From how welcoming and motivational the center is to the social enrichment, education and just all the resources that are available to you for free. It is an amazing place, and I can’t wait to go back.”