November 2020 Newsletter

Categories: News


I’m Thankful for Farmworkers: Virtual Celebration

Proteus surpasses its fundraising goal of $60,000



Behind the scenes: CEO-Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel welcomes viewers to Proteus 41st Anniversary

On November 5 we celebrated our 41st Anniversary by hosting a virtual fundraising event. Thanks to all of our supporters who joined and helped us surpass our goal of $60,000!

CEO and host-Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel welcomed everyone to the annual celebration. There was music, storytelling, and even award presentations for Farmworker and Ally of the Year recipients.

If you weren’t able to join the LIVE event or would like to relive it, the recording is available on the Proteus Facebook page, and YouTube channel.

You’ll learn more about the programs and services that Proteus provides. As well as hear from our award winners.

Donation and silent auction bidding opportunities are LIVE through December 1. Donate or Bid HERE

Thank You to Our Sponsors


View Event Program

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Student Seeks to Further Education

Work in greenhouse opens opportunity for college


Andrea Image

Andrea receives support from Proteus so she can achieve her career goals.

Andrea Garcilazo, 19, hadn’t planned on going to college when she was younger. Still she was a very good student at Washington High School, the health sciences magnet school in South Bend, Indiana. When she saw her classmates’ enthusiasm as they anticipated moving onto higher education, she began to think maybe that was what she would like after all.

However, money was an issue. Her parents were laborers at a large, local nursery and greenhouse, and Andrea was one of four daughters. Tuition would have been a major obstacle had she not learned of the scholarships Proteus offers to farmworkers.

Andrea’s older sister Erika had benefitted from the scholarship program and was able to complete the medical assistant program at the local community college – Ivy Tech, South Bend. Through Erika’s relationship with Jesusa Rivera, Proteus case manager in northern Indiana, she learned what she would need to do to be eligible for the scholarships as well.

During her last semester of high school, Andrea began working part-time at the nursery where her parents were employed. And a week after she graduated fifteenth in her high school class, she began working full time as a nursery laborer.

“It’s hard work,” she reflects now. “In the greenhouse it can easily reach 110°. I look up to people who have worked that hard their whole lives.”

But she also found the work satisfying. “I loved the flowers and being in nature surrounded by growing things. It was very calming.”

She has one semester behind her. Even though COVID-19 threw a wrench in her educational plans, she still received nearly straight A’s in her classes, her only B in Math 123, a class that emphasizes real-life math and word problems rather than equations. “For that kind of class, I would do better in a classroom setting and in-person instruction,” she says.

Andrea started her second semester in August, again with largely virtual instruction. Following in her sister’s footsteps, she too is working towards her associate’s degree as a medical assistant. Eventually, she would like to go into social work and work with small children. “But that’s six years in school. I will need to do this one step at a time.”

Proteus will walk her every step of the way to say with sincerity, “You got this Andrea!”

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A Shared Vision

Partnerships lead to a pediatric dental patient success story



Part of the services provided by the Proteus Health Team include patient referrals for medical specialties such as dental care. Partnering clinics allow Proteus to pay for any services administered to these patients.

Before the pandemic struck, a pediatric patient and his mother established care with Proteus in hopes of an oral surgery referral. The first pediatric dental clinic created a financial barrier for a child who had already been suffering for so long.

Months later, another dental clinic was contacted, and an evaluation appointment was made. The family was instructed to return for services at a cost that was still a substantial amount to pay.

Fortunately, the mother’s application for the Central Iowa Immigrant Community Support Fund (CIICSF) was approved and is making the treatment possible for her child.

Proteus can’t do the work alone.

Thanks to the organizations who partnered to support this patient’s surgery.

Learn More about CIICSF

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The Power of Partnerships

Migrant workers benefit when partners work together



Noemi receives support to kick-off her children’s educational journey with backpacks in hand.

This was the first season that the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) was able to offer safety training for workers at local orchards in Indiana!

After several visits over the past three years to orchards in the west-central region of Indiana, and a delivery of facemasks and gloves for their workers this season, Proteus case manager, Dana Cowsert received an inquiry about safety training from McClure’s Orchard. McClure’s Orchard and Hainlen Orchard had partnered to employ nine workers.

On the day of training, Proteus program specialist, Gloribel Flores, assisted the grandmother and grandfather living at the migrant camp by connecting them to community partner, Indiana Health Center, for medical appointments and supplies during their stay in Indiana.

Days later, an orchard worker reached out to Proteus regarding childcare for children living at the camp. Proteus case manager Cowsert was able to partner with Doris Waters, migrant education assistant director of support programming, and Howard County School Corporation, to register two of the three children for kindergarten. Later, Doris visited the camp to deliver backpacks to the children and meet their mother, Noemi Chavez. The next morning, Doris transported Mom and children to the school to register. The following Monday, the bus picked up the boys to attend their first day of school!

When case manager Dana Cowsert visited the family to see how the first day of school and bus ride went, another issue was brought to her attention. Noemi’s mother, Reyna, was concerned that she wasn’t able to work because she was caring for her husband. She was also caring for her grandchild during the workday. Proteus was able to offer Reyna UMOS cash assistance to supplement the loss of income.

By taking time to build relationships in the community, Proteus, Indiana Health Center, Migrant Education and the School Corporation, and UMOS were able to provide services and support to orchard owners, orchard workers, and their families in a matter of days.

This story shows the importance of communication, relationship building, and the power of partnerships.

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How Proteus Clinics Continue to Serve Through a COVID Winter

During a novel pandemic, the strongest organizations are those that can adapt.



Iowa Department of Public Health assists in administering flu shots to patients

Health concerns don’t stop during a pandemic, individuals need access to medical care and providers need to stay in contact with their patients safely.

Telemedicine is a useful tool as Proteus continues to serve agricultural workers well into the third wave of the pandemic. Telemedicine can be as simple as calling a patient and talking through their medications or complex when addressing an issue such as abdominal pain. For patients with internet access or reliable cell service, Zoom video calls can be used to accomplish the same. These visits ensure access to medical care through consistent contact with providers for those in rural settings, those without reliable transportation, or those who work 12-16-hour days.

posterSome patients record home glucose results to report to the provider and others report blood pressures by home monitoring with a blood pressure cuff. This provides useful information for providers to assist with medication management during the telehealth visit.  Telehealth enables health staff to positively impact patient health. Proteus health staff also discuss diet and exercise or how the pandemic and isolation is affecting patient’s mental well-being.

When an in-person visit is needed, proper precautions are taken to protect patients and staff.  COVID-19 and flu vaccines are provided. Proteus is also able to provide medications, food, and personal items for those in need.

Every patient deserves the best quality of life possible, and winter and COVID-19 will not stop this work.
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Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for your continued support. (1)