5 questions with Sheryldine Samuel-Fall
Sheryldine Samuel-Fall has served the Resource Center of Dallas as the HIV/AIDS Nutrition/Education Program Manager for three years. The Resource Center of Dallas operates the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, the Nelson-Tebedo Health Resource Center and the AIDS Resource Center. Through the AIDS Resource Center, clients can access the food pantry, which supplies 1,000 people with food for breakfast, lunch and dinner each week.
How long have you worked in the HIV/AIDS services field?
It’s been a combined total of five years that I’ve been working, but prior to that, I started volunteering in nursing school. So, with volunteering, it’s been eight or nine years. I’ve worked for the Resource Center of Dallas for three years, and before that I was an HIV/AIDS case manager at a medical insurance company.
How did you get interested in HIV/AIDS issues?
I took an HIV/AIDS 101 course from Marianne LaShat at Georgetown University. I don’t know what happened that day, but it just clicked. I thought, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I started participating in a peer education group that informed freshman about using condoms.
What are some obstacles you face in your job?
We can’t give condoms out at schools. We have to ask everywhere we go, because we can’t offend anyone if that could be called offensive. I hate hearing stories about young people still getting infected in this day and age when there’s so much information out there. As an African-American woman, young black women coming in and testing positive is very upsetting.
What are the blessings you receive through your work?
Going out there and educating people and seeing someone get it. Watching someone come in and get tested after hearing us talk. I tell everyone to know their status, whether it’s positive or negative, so they can be better informed and responsible.
How long have you lived in Dallas and who do you live with?
I’ve lived in Dallas for four years. We moved because of my husband’s job. I have a 10-year old son, who I really try to educate about safer sex and condoms. And then I have my extended family at the Resource Center.
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the GLBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, contact staff writer Beth Freed at firstname.lastname@example.org