Natasha Wirth
Philadelphia, PA

Degree & Major: B.A. in Sociology, Minors in Spanish and Women and Gender Studies
Current Position: I am a bilingual hotline counselor and community educator with C.H.O.I.C.E. (Concern for Health Options--Information, Care, Education). I currently advocate for and provide counseling and referrals to individuals—mostly young people—seeking reproductive and sexual health care services. I have always been passionate about reproductive justice and see reproductive and sexual health care as a basic human right. With a solid background in social justice issues, specifically of marginalized sexual, cultural, and economic groups, I have been able to use my knowledge to empower individuals to make informed choices and be proactive in their health and well-being.
Rewards & Challenges: The most challenging element of this job is not knowing if these people are getting the care they need or receiving the financial assistance necessary to afford a safe and legal abortion. It isn't often you get a call back on our hotline saying "thank you," but just yesterday I was working with a young woman who was about two months pregnant, uninsured and seeking prenatal care. We worked together to find some referrals; she had to call back twice for more locations as she kept getting turned away. Eventually my phone rang again and it was her, calling to let me know she found a hospital that would take her in for care. We don't do this work for the "thanks," but when we get return calls like this, it reminds me of why I'm here and just how vital this work is.
Best Advice Received: Never settle.
Necessary Skills: In any counseling/social service field, there's a heightened degree of emotional-professional balance which can sometimes be difficult, especially in the fields of reproductive and sexual health care. Having had some counseling experience previously, and working with various social advocacy organizations on Arcadia's campus and within the Philadelphia community definitely supported my development of this balance.
My Passion: I keep revisiting a quote from Audre Lorde, which has motivated my career and future educational path, "without community there is no liberation." This mantra rings true in my advocacy work every day. The ability to make a difference in the lives of children, women, and families and the satisfaction of empowering individuals—through knowledge, community building, and funding—drew me into the fields of philanthropy and social justice.
Education Preparation: I will be deeply indebted to the fabulous faculty and staff and well as my peers on campus at Arcadia for where I am today (and will be one day). The faculty and staff of the Sociology and Modern Language departments truly helped to challenge and support me in my intellectual, academic, and personal life goals. Quite simply: they're brilliant and insanely passionate, which is what drew me into these fields at Arcadia. They have become mentors and friends I cherish and love dearly. Thanks to their passion and patience, I have developed a strong radical, queer, feminist lens (and VOICE) with which I analyze the world and advocate for my consumers. I also nod to the amazing opportunity offered to me via the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship and the Spanish Department specifically, for cultivating my command for and appreciation of the Spanish language. I specifically applied knowledge of "castellano argentino" in my volunteer work abroad in Cordoba Argentina with at-risk teenage mothers. I still carry my Cordobese accent with me in my bilingual counseling from time to time and I have to smile and remember who I can thank for that.
Advice for Students: Take advantage of all of the opportunities Arcadia has to offer. Don't think you can afford study abroad? Look into alternative study away and abroad programs like the Vira Heinz scholarship or alternative Spring/Winter breaks. Go join a club and BE ACTIVE in it. If you're not passionate about it, make your own club! The faculty and staff on campus are here for YOU. Take a minute to ask your prof. a question after class or have tea in Easton to talk about what's happening in Tunisia with access to abortion care. You may be surprised how similar some professor's interests are to yours. Be open to ongoing relationships with supervisors from work study or academic advisers after graduation—they may be a great resource for that grad school rec or a job opportunity!


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