Child Health

Day in the Life: Mary Carreon

October 14, 2019 | Texas


Mary Carreon joined the CDF-Texas Rio Grande Valley office in 2016 as a Community Health Outreach Associate.

As a proud resident of the Rio Grande Valley community since 2001, she brings more than 20 years of experience in public health to the CDF-Texas team. Mary obtained her Texas Navigator Certification in 2014, which enabled her to provide community-based assistance to families as they enroll in health care coverage. She, along with Gracie Camarena (the Child Health Outreach Program Director), now work closely with community partners, city, state and federal agencies to connect uninsured children with healthcare coverage.




Read her retelling of a special day in her life as an outreach worker:

On October 24th, 2018 Gracie received an email from a friend of CDF and community partner. Her email stated, “I have a family in Harlingen that needs some application assistance. The newborn baby will have significant Medical bills.” Instantly, Gracie contacted me since we had just restarted our outreach in Cameron County with continued financial support from Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation. We knew we had to do what we could for this family. After contacting the parents, we found out that baby was a newborn, born with a cleft pallet. Parents were devastated, not only for the diagnosis, but for not knowing how they would endure the financial barriers that would come with the care and treatment of their child.

The first thing I did was assist with an application for Children’s Medicaid/CHIP (still waiting on the response regarding eligibility), but meanwhile; I tapped into a contact I had from Shriner’s Hospital and asked if they could help. Surprisingly they had an unscheduled clinic that day in Cameron County and they agreed to speak to parents, get an application going, and assist the family. It seemed that all the stars aligned (I could visually see the lines connecting as I closed my eyes: Referral to Gracie – Gracie to me – me to Shriners – Shriners to family – and so on)?.

We were able to inform the family of the process of their application for Medicaid/CHIP, and Shriner’s took care of the application for their services that would include travel to Houston for a consultation (free of charge to the family) and possible surgery in the near future. We feel blessed to be able to serve our community with information, connect families to benefits and services, and know that the soft hand-off referral was fruitful.

The person that referred the family to us sent Gracie another message saying, “Gracie, I knew you and Mary were the right people to help them. I told Dad to follow Mary’s instruction. You are so right, God is good. Thank you for what you do for families every day.”



To learn more about Shriner’s see the link below: