Andrew Castellano is a native New Mexican who switched careers as a retail salesman to a AmeriCorps VISTA member. Feeling frustrated with his stymied career path, Andrew decided to focus his time and energy on giving back to his community.
Andrew started his first year with AmeriCorps with the New Mexico Hispanic Medical Association (NMHMA), a nonprofit that aims to make health care accessible and affordable to all New Mexicans. At the beginning of Andrew's service, the NMHMA was on the verge of launching the New Mexico Medical Card, a medical discount program.
Applying his business administration and marketing skills, Andrew promoted the New Mexico Medical Card by creating flyers, posting the materials at community centers, and creating partnerships with local news media sources. In addition to managing the program, Andrew provided administrative support to the NMHMA’s Board of Directors by attending monthly meetings and recording minutes.
He also assisted with the management of the Pre-Medical Prep program for rural New Mexican college students seeking a medical career. His involvement entailed printing materials for recruitment events and coordinating education panels to provide information to students. Andrew now serves as a VISTA Cadre Project leader with the New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community.
Despite his heavy workload as a VISTA leader, Andrew continues to provide assistance to the NMHMA as its Spanish-speaking community liaison. Andrew is the main contact for Spanish speakers interested in enrolling in the New Mexico Medical Card program. His continued role with the NMHMA is extremely valuable because the NMHMA serves a large Spanish speaking population.
With Andrew's help, the NMHMA has made significant strides in developing a viable and affordable product for the medically uninsured.