[Professional Fellows Program ‘14] Jenny Macaraan: “My experience as a Coloradoan”
Visiting the United States has been one of my goals, so when I learned that I had been accepted into the ACYPL Professional Fellows Program, it was one of the highlights of my life. After discovering I would be participating in a fellowship in Denver, my reaction was, “Wow!” I had only read about Colorado in books, so this was a major surprise for me.
I researched Colorado before coming to the US, but nothing could prepare me for the mixed feelings I had when I arrived. I said to myself: “So this is Colorado?” I was a bit nervous because I did not know what to expect or what my daily life for the next three weeks would be like. I wondered, “Would the people be warm?” “Will there be favorable weather?” “What will my commute be like?” Fortunately all my worries were wiped clean when I started my fellowship in Denver. I was especially at ease after meeting people who were not native Coloradans, but who just decided to move there. They told me Colorado was one of the best places they’ve lived, and after three weeks there, I can say I’m lucky and fortunate to have experienced life the Colorado way.
Some of my major program goals were to understand the legislative process and how governance works, particularly with healthcare so that I could apply what I learned back home in the Philippines. After my fellowship here, and after learning about what Colorado is doing to address healthcare challenges, I believe their healthcare policies seem to work because of the partnerships between officials at the state, county, and city level, as well as nonprofit organizations, the business sector, and the people of Colorado.
Despite all of the great things about Colorado, I would assert life here may not be easy for all. There are still people who need more care, better shelter and opportunities, especially in health equity, which I believe Colorado is on its way to achieving. All voices must be heard, policies must be implemented and regulated, and access to services and rights must be provided so that life can be better for the next generation of Coloradans.
I will never ever forget this wonderful opportunity. Thank you to our mentor, Toni Panetta, my fellowship hosts, and to Colorado for the experience of a lifetime!