When Timothy Malaolu, his wife and teenage son arrived in New York from Nigeria in the spring of 2013, it was like starting their lives over again from scratch. “I didn’t have a job. We didn’t have a doctor,” Malaolu recalls. “I thought, ‘Where do we go from here?’”
Then one day, while walking through his new neighborhood of Cambria Heights, Malaolu spotted the sign for EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care. “I thought they could help find us a doctor,” he recalls. “But I soon found Neighborhood Care was much more than that. I felt like our whole family got adopted and suddenly we had powerful friends.”
Solutions Specialists Jenice Hales and Janeem Galdamez didn’t stop with getting the Malaolu family an insurance plan and finding them a doctor. They helped Mr. Malaolu sign up with Workforce1, a program of the NYC Department of Small Business Services that connects candidates with job opportunities. When he got his first smartphone, they signed him up for Neighborhood Care’s cell phone literacy classes.
And when they learned that a paperwork error had left the Malaolus in limbo with finalizing their green cards, Hales and Galdamez sprang into action. “Immigration was going to suspend my process. When I told the people at Neighborhood Care, they asked me to bring in all my documents. They spoke with the people at immigration for me. Three days later, I got the call to come in for my green card!”
Malaolu has just one change to suggest. “They do so much more than health insurance. I think EmblemHealth needs to change its name to ‘EmblemHelp!’”