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Community Advocate Education and Outreach Program for COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness and Acceptance

1) What is this program?  

In 2021 Healthy Savannah and YMCA of Coastal Georgia was awarded $544,000 in supplemental grant funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.  A portion of these funds were to support the work of community members to focus on COVID-19 vaccine education, awareness, and acceptance. 

Consequently, Healthy Savannah developed a network of Community Health Advocates who partnered with us to get messages to Black and Hispanic communities about access, awareness, and acceptance of the COVID-19 and Flu vaccines. The program has had five cohorts and over 60 Community Health Advocates since the beginning of the program. As an advocate, they would help share accurate and up-to-date information that would build a better understanding of vaccine choices that are available. This would help people make informed decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones.  

Community Health Advocates don’t have to be a medical or health professional.  They can be a community leader, a leader in a workplace or voluntary setting, a member of a health or wellness church ministry or a health committee in businesses, social clubs, or places of worship, or anyone who is interested in supporting health equity in Savannah. 

The main purpose of this community outreach is to let Savannahians know what they need to do to prevent, identify, understand, control, and minimize the spread of COVID-19 and Flu viruses. 

2) Who should apply? 

We are looking for Savannah residents who can demonstrate their ability to reach communities whose voices go uninvited and unheard. They should also be able to relate to the health inequities that disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic Savannahians. Neighborhood leaders, church leaders, community organizers and post-high school students are encouraged to apply. 

3) Is this a paid position?

A stipend of $500 will be provided to those who successfully complete the program. This training is also a great resume-builder for college students and can help increase leadership skills for community members.

4) What will advocates learn in the training program?

Utilizing their background, experiences, interests, and skillsets, the advocates will be trained to speak to and learn from the community by:

  • Organizing and holding public meetings with community members
  • Sharing information at local faith-based organizations, places of worship and events
  • Attending and distributing informational flyers, surveys and materials on COVID-19 and Flu at local community events
  • Participating in and speaking at city and neighborhood events to share information
  • Meeting with local business owners (barbershops, beauty salons, corner stores, etc…)
  • Sharing approved information on social media outlets
  • Sharing information at local schools, parent meetings, and student groups
  • Reporting on activities and measurable outcomes

5) How can I found out more?

Information and listening sessions will be held monthly, to provide details, along with a platform for questions and discussion. Those wishing to attend should RSVP to

6) Who is providing this training?

This effort is funded by a supplemental grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is intended to broaden the initiatives of the current Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant to focus on overall wellness, COVID-19 vaccine education, awareness, and acceptance, particularly in Savannah’s Black and Hispanic communities.

7) How does the training work and when will it be offered? 

Training will be provided to small groups of about 10 each and is offered a week prior to the start of a cohort.

8) How do I sign up?

To register for listening and info sessions, apply to become a community advocate, or learn more, email


On December 27, 2020, the President signed into law the FY 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (P.L. 116-260), which includes supplemental funding for coronavirus vaccine activities to support broad-based distribution, access, and vaccine coverage. Resources are focused on planning and preparing for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, supporting the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine program, expanding the existing immunization infrastructure, engaging in additional partnerships, and implementing and evaluating new strategies to reach affected populations, such as those who may be vaccine-hesitant and those who are in racial and ethnic or other minority groups. The supplemental grant funds awarded to the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and Healthy Savannah must be spent/expended within an 18-month performance and budget period from April 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022.

Local program administrators are:
Paula Kreissler, project director,;
Nichele Hoskins, communication manager,; and
Elsie Smalls, PhD, operations manager,

Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations® Inc.

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