Angela Poreda is living her dream. She’s engaged to the love of her life, she’s the mother to three wonderful dogs, and she gets paid to fulfill her passion of helping people become fit and healthy. Angela is a health educator at Virginia Premier. She teaches our members how to live healthy lives.
When she’s in the office, Angela takes phones calls from members and answers any health-related questions they may have. She’ll also suggest health benefits they can use to improve their health. Angela also goes out into the community for our sponsorship and outreach events, where she meets members face-to-face. And she works to address the social determinants of health in our communities by working with local community partners to help identify and fix things that cause illness and ill-health.
This is all part of her role as a health educator, and she wouldn’t have it any other way: “What I really like about the role is that I’m not just sitting at a desk. I get to go be out in the community. I get to meet members, I get to meet people. I get to do all kinds of things.” Before working with Virginia Premier, Angela had no idea you could do all of this in a job. “It just like blew my mind that being a health educator was a job and that it was actually something that I can do for the rest of my life.”
Angela first learned about health education through her graduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was enrolled in the Health Behavior Change certificate program and her advisor, Dr. Joann Richardson, told her about an externship opportunity with Virginia Premier. Dr. Richardson helped put Angela in touch with her future mentor at Virginia Premier, Lajune Fowlkes.
For four months, Angela interned with Virginia Premier and learned what health educators do. She worked closely with Lajune and with Sarah Morris, another health educator. “They both taught me what it was like to be a health educator, and it was really through their passion that it sort of like grew my passion.”
At the end of her externship, a health educator position at Virginia Premier happened to open up. She applied and got the job, one of only eight health educator positions in the state. “It was literally like all the stars aligned.”
Reflecting on it all, Angela believes, “This is where I was meant to be.”