Grace Rutha came to the United States as a political asylee, seeking refuge and a chance to pursue the “American Dream.” Despite her background as a News Editor in Kenya – with 13 years of experience and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Nairobi – Grace was unable to find work in her field, and remained unemployed as a refugee with a work permit and then a Green Card.

Grace has been HIV positive since the age of 20. Seeking medical assistance, she found Philadelphia FIGHT – a comprehensive health services organization providing primary care, consumer education, research, and advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk – enrolled Grace as a patient. She became actively involved with FIGHT, and is now a member of FIGHT’s Advisory Board.

When Philadelphia FIGHT partnered with the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund to implement the first Community Health Worker Registered Apprenticeship in Pennsylvania, FIGHT identified Grace as its first Apprentice. She has completed the 150-hour classroom training, and is currently working as a Community Health Worker Apprentice in an HIV Peer Counselor role.

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