“LifeWalk was extremely well attended,” said AIDS Arms development associate Hannah Orsburn.
The AIDS walk stepped off from Lee Park on Sunday, Oct. 2 at noon.
Orsburn said numbers are still being tallied for dollars raised and number of walkers. Those figures should be available Tuesday. The only figure available was for online donations and that number is higher than last year. She said that donations can still be made through the LifeWalk website through Oct. 14.
“There was more to see, more to do,” Orsburn said. “The energy was so great this year. More groups participated.”
One group of walkers from Worth Ross Associates, an Oak Lawn-based real estate management company, said that its team had more than 40 people participate. In addition to the money raised by each of the walkers, the company underwrote at the $5,000 level.
Orsburn said after the walk, people stayed in the park later.
One reason may have been additional vendors and the Passport. Walkers were given a passport that had to be signed at each of the vendors’ booths. Once completed, they were turned in for a drawing that will be held later this week.
New requirements by the city of Dallas could affect proceed totals from this year’s AIDS Arms LifeWalk, and at least one more new requirement is expected to be added to the list next year, according to LifeWalk organizers.
The 21st annual LifeWalk steps off from Lee Park on Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. for the 3.2-mile walk. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Last year’s event raised $401,000 and this year’s goal is $500,000.
Although thousands of people are expected for the event, Lee Park will remain unfenced this year, even though the city has said such gatherings will require fencing in the future.
Officials with the Dallas Tavern Guild, which stages the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and the Festival in Lee Park each year as part of Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride celebration, decided to get ahead of the new requirement by fencing in Lee Park this year for the festival, although the city requirement had not yet gone into effect.
Tavern Guild officials also chose to charge a $5 admission fee to the festival this year to help offset expenses and raise extra funds that will be distributed to parade beneficiaries.
The admission fee raised the ire of some in the community, and attendance at the festival was down compared to last year. But Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said the drop was not significant, and noted that the admission fee brought in about $25,000 that will be divided among beneficiaries.
But AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles said new city requirements have already had an impact on LifeWalk, and she is worried that the new fencing requirements could affect next year’s walk.
“There were a lot more expenses from the city this year,” she said. “It really hits the bottom line.”
The cost of fencing next year will add an additional, unwelcome expense. But Nobles said she isn’t going to worry about that until after this weekend’s event. Right now, her main concern is getting people out to participate in this year’s fundraiser.
“Anyone can participate in LifeWalk,” Nobles said. “You can walk alone or bring friends or join a team. We even have poop-out vans: In case you can’t walk the entire three-mile route, someone will pick you up and bring you back to the park to have a good time.”
She also invited people to just come to the park and cheer.
“We need cheerleaders at the start and finish and at the water stations,” Nobles said. “We have pompoms for anyone who wants to cheer the walkers on.”
Registration for LifeWalk is $40 for people and $10 for dogs participating in LifeBark. People get a T-shirt and dogs get a bandana to show their support for people with HIV.
AIDS Arms is the primary beneficiary of LifeWalk, but other organizations also receive funds from the event, including AIDS Services of Dallas, Legal Hospice of Texas, Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus, Bryan’s House, Resource Center Dallas and the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.
Money raised goes toward programming rather than capital costs. The chorale uses funds for their HIV fund, including giving tickets to performances through the year to people with AIDS.
Nobles praised that effort, saying that socializing is an important holistic element in treating HIV.
The Women’s Chorus will present a program at AIDS Arms in March on National HIV Women’s Day. Those expenses, Nobles said, should be covered by the group’s LifeWalk proceeds.
Nobles said it would be tempting for AIDS Arms to use the money to finish paying off the agency’s new Trinity Health and Wellness Center in Oak Cliff. She said that the new facility cost more than $2 million, and AIDS Arms needs to raise just $35,000 more to pay off the facility.
Trinity Health and Wellness Center opened in September and will have its formal grand opening in two weeks.
But despite the temptation, AIDS Arms will instead use proceeds from LifeWalk to support programs for clients at Trinity as well as at AIDS Arms’ older clinic, Peabody Health Center in South Dallas.
AIDS Arms also uses the money to administer HIV tests to more than 3,500 people a year and for case management for more than 3,400 people.
LifeWalk began in 1990 as a fundraiser for Oak Lawn Community Services. When that agency closed, management of the event moved to AIDS Arms.
LifeWalk Co-chair Marvin Green noted that his Green Team will mark its 20th year of participation in LifeWalk. He said he put the team together for the first time in the second year of LifeWalk because he had already lost 20 friends to AIDS.
That first year, three team members raised $75. This year, the 32-member Green Team has collected about $22,000.
Co-chair Fred Harris said that there were quite a few new teams this year.
“We’re reaching out to new communities,” Harris said. “There’s new energy. We’re branching outside Oak Lawn.”
He said teams are using creative new ways to raise money and AIDS Arms has actively brought in new sponsors such as Chipotle.
“Stoli is coming with a first-ever LifeWalk drink,” Nobles said. Returning sponsor Caven Enterprises will serve beer and Ben E. Keith donated iced tea.
Harris said planning has gone well, and that “LifeWalk is a well-oiled machine.”
Harris said he has seen more use of social media this year than ever, reaching out to people outside the Metroplex.
“This year Facebook has become a very powerful tool,” he said, not just for fundraising but also for recruiting walkers.
Last year, about 3,500 people walked, and this year, “Registration is ahead of where we were this time last year,” Harris said.
Waterpalooza, another AIDS Arms event, was moved to Pride weekend this year, just two weeks prior to LifeWalk. Harris said they took advantage of that event to sign up teams and walkers and generate excitement for this weekend’s walk.
Among the new teams, Harris said, are the DFW Sisters.
“Their efforts have been tireless,” he said. “They raise the bar.”
Nobles said that WFAA Channel 8 morning anchor Ron Corning will serve as M.C. in Lee Park. Although he’s appeared at several events since arriving in Dallas, this is the first big public event the openly gay television host has emceed.
LifeWalk received the Human Rights Campaign family-friendly designation, and Nobles said there will be bounce houses, clowns and face-painting for children.
Harris said the event is pet-friendly as well, “because pets are our family.”
There will be games and puppy pools for dogs as well as doggie adoptions, Nobles said.
She said the day would be a lot of fun but asked people to participate because the need is greater than ever.
“With the growth in the number of newly-infected people in Dallas County who need help in this economy, we’re seeing people who never would ask but must,” she said.
Next year, Nobles said, she would like to see LifeWalk return to Oak Lawn, but new city regulations for events may change those plans. Among the events changing plans this year because of the city involved Lone Star Ride.
Last year, Lone Star Riders participated in LifeWalk on bike. This year, city regulations banned bikes from walks so LSR riders who participate will have to walk.
Green was thinking about bigger plans for future LifeWalks. Other cities that raise more money stage longer walks. He said he’d love to use the new Downtown Deck Park that should be completed next year and dreamed of seeing LifeWalkers crossing the new suspension bridge that should be open in March 2012.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.
Talk to Landon Starnes about his involvement with LifeWalk, the annual walkathon benefiting AIDS Arms and its partner agencies, and you’ll hear
Starnes repeat the words “passion” and “fear” a lot.
Starnes said he let fear rule him for too long. But in the end, there’s no doubt that “passion” wins out.
Starnes, who works as a hairdresser, said that he was diagnosed with HIV in October 1998. But he wasn’t prepared to deal with reality, and so for years, he said, “I ignored my diagnosis emotionally.”
But then some friends began to encourage him to confront his HIV status by getting involved in LifeWalk, specifically by joining the Guys and Dolls LifeWalk team.
Starnes said it took him awhile to get up to speed, and he was involved with LifeWalk just “off and on” for several years. But three years ago, he decided to really take the plunge and has been an active member of the Guys and Dolls team ever since.
This year, even that got ratcheted up a notch when Starnes finally gave in to his teammates’ cajoling and entered the Miss LifeWalk Pageant.
“My team had been asking me for two years to enter the pageant, but I declined every time. I was just scared to death to do drag,” Starnes explained. “But this year, I decided to accept the challenge, even though it scared me.”
The first challenge was to come up with a character, so “I started brainstorming about a character, about who I would be,” Starnes said. “I started thinking about things I, as a person, am passionate about. And I am passionate about the singer Pink.
“Her music gets to me in a way that no one else’s does,” Starned continued. “Her lyrics inspire me. I think, if I had to pick just one, my favorite Pink song is ‘Glitter in the Air.’ It says, ‘Have you ever wished for an endless night?’ ‘Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air?’ It made me look into myself, literally. Last summer, while we were on a road trip, my friends and I stopped and actually threw a fistful of glitter in the air. It was silly and fun, and now it is a memory that will last forever.”
But there is one line in the song, Starnes said, that really touched him, one lyric that made him think and gave him the determination to set aside the fear that had held him back: “Have you ever looked fear in the face, and said, I just don’t care?”
It was, Starnes said, a spark that made his passion for LifeWalk and for doing something to help others blaze even brighter.
“I knew I wasn’t going to try to be Pink, but I love what she does. So I decided I would kind of pay tribute to her with my character,” Starnes said.
And so, Lotta Pink was born.
And lo and behold, Lotta Pink won the Miss LifeWalk title on her first try, helping Starnes bring in about $7,000 for LifeWalk this year, bringing his total over all his Guys and Dolls years to about $11,000.
Starnes said he and Lotta Pink obviously have a lot in common. “We share our passion for the cause, first of all, and second, we both want to step outside the box,” Starnes said. “I was afraid of doing drag. But my favorite quote is ‘Do it scared,’ so that’s what I did. I stepped outside the box and challenged myself, and in doing that, I learned that fears are just fears, nothing else.”
Starnes said that while his fears still remain to some degree, Lotta Pink “has no fear,” and she is helping him overcome his own.
“It’s easier when you can put on a wig and some makeup and kind of step outside yourself,” Starnes said. “Now, learning to step out without that disguise is what comes next!”
Knowing that what he does is all to help AIDS Arms and the clients the agency serves makes it even easier to put the fear aside, Starnes said.
“The Guys and Dolls team works all year, not just on the day of LifeWalk. And the people at AIDS Arms work all year trying to help other people. I love AIDS Arms, and I love what it stands for,” Starnes said. “The walk itself is symbolic, to me. It’s a short walk, yes, but just going through the movement of walking allows you to release your passion.
“Everybody who participates is there for their own reasons, but whatever the reason, they are passionate about it,” he continued. “That alone speaks volumes. The biggest thing that came out of all this for me was seeing how good people really are.”
Again, it all comes down to overcoming fear and fully realizing the passion.
“It’s so important for everyone to find their passion, whether it’s LifeWalk or something else,” Starnes said. “Finding my passion has lifted me to a whole new level of awareness, understanding and joy. It’s just such a positive energy when you are around all these people at LifeWalk who work so hard to make a difference in other people’s lives. It’s helped me find a happiness I have never known before.”
AIDS Arms LifeWalk will be held Sunday, Oct. 2, at Lee Park. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 1 p.m. For more information, go online to LifeWalk.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.
In recent years, increasing costs have forced the Dallas Tavern Guild to cut back on the number of organizations chosen as beneficiaries of the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, choosing only one each year.
This year, however, the Tavern Guild has been able to expand its list of beneficiaries once again. In addition to Youth First Texas, the sole beneficiary for the last several years, beneficiaries this year also include AIDS Arms Inc., AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas and Legacy Counseling Center.
Each of the agencies is profiled below:
AIDS Arms Inc.
AIDS Arms is the largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS organization in North Texas, serving more than 7,000 individuals every year. The agency’s executive director is Raeline Nobles, and John Loza is chairman of the board of directors.
The AIDS Arms offices are located at 351 West Jefferson Blvd., Suite 300. The phone number is 214-521-5191, and the website is AIDSArms.org.
AIDS Arms’s case management programs offer numerous services to assist individuals in learning to live longer and healthier lives with HIV by providing access to medical care and support services specific to them. The agency’s goals are to create and maintain long-term access and adherence to medical care and stabilization so clients can successfully manage the side effects of HIV and AIDS.
Professional case managers are trained to respond to clients’ unique needs by providing a comprehensive assessment of needs and barriers to accessing medical care and support, as well as assessing clients for eligibility for programs such as HIV medication and health insurance assistance, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other benefit programs that may help with the financial issues of HIV treatment. Case managers also develop a long-term care plan with the client.
The Case Management Resource Directory helps clients locate services such as food, housing, counseling, support groups, job training and more.
AIDS Arms offers multiple minority-specific programs for women, youth, substance abusers and those with mental health needs. The agency offers linguistic services with case managers versed in more than 10 foreign languages and dialects, and with a variety of diverse cultural and educational backgrounds and experiences.
The intake program helps newly diagnosed clients navigate the services available to them in Dallas.
AIDS Arms’ Peabody Health Center is an outpatient medical clinic that offers comprehensive medical care in coordination with other services needed to increase access to care and maintain adherence to treatment. The clinic employs physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and others professionals who are experts in the medical field and specify in HIV treatment.
AIDS Arms is currently in the process of opening a second clinic.
One specific support group, WILLOW (Women Involved in Life Learning from Other Women), is a program that brings together HIV-positive women to learn from each other and develop new skills. Activities and group discussion lend to the positive environment where women learn how to live healthier lives and form good relationships.
AIDS Interfaith Network
AIDS Interfaith Network was founded in 1986. Steven Pace is executive director. The agency’s offices are located on 501 N. Stemmons, Suite 200,
and the phone number is 214-941-7696. The AIN website is AIDSInterfaithNetwork.org.
Among its programs, AIN offers Outreach, a program to guide individuals and gives them access to prevention and care services, make referrals and ensure that those affected by HIV/AIDS have access to proper care. The program specifically targets African-Americans (African American Health Coalition) and Latinos (Manos Unidas).
AIN offers a variety of programs, including linguistic services with interpretation and translation of written materials for Spanish-speaking clients, caregivers and other service providers.
Educational services, including prevention education and risk reduction sessions, are available for at-risk individuals, groups and communities, as well as collaborative HIV testing and prevention programs.
Another program offers HIV education for minority women at high risk of infections. The program specifically targets African-American and Hispanic women, but it is open to all.
AIN’s client advocacy program receives referred clients and enrolls them into the appropriate programs. It also provides direct assistance by making referrals, providing follow up and collaborating with case management. This program collects client data, creates and updates files and provides documentation.
Transportation services are offered to clients living in both metropolitan and rural areas through van rides, bus passes for the DART and train system and taxi rides to ensure access to treatment facilities and support services throughout the prevention system.
AIN also operates the Daire Center, an adult daycare center that provides stabilization services and respite care to relieve caregivers. The center also includes monitoring, individualized support, activities, socialization and nutrition assistance. The meals program provides prepared breakfast and lunch daily in the Daire Center for clients who need assistance to meet or enhance their nutritional needs.
For those interested in taking part in helping affected clients, AIN’s volunteer program recruits, trains and manages volunteers, offering different curricula of buddy and companion services for those affected. The program also provides on-site assignments at AIN to give program, administrative and project support and to participate in fundraising events.
For clients requiring spiritual support, AIN offers pastoral services for care, counseling, education and support. The program refers clients and accepts referrals, collaborates with Outreach, offers prevention education and recruits volunteers.
AIDS Services of Dallas
AIDS Services of Dallas was founded in 1985. Don Maison is president and CEO. ASD offices and apartment buildings are located in North Oak Cliff, near Methodist Medical Center. The phone number is 214-941-0523 and the website is AIDSDallas.org.
ASD’s housing program provides furnished, service-enriched housing and assisted living in private apartments for people with HIV/AIDS. ASD never turns away clients due to an inability to pay rent and it is the largest licensed provider of medically supportive housing for infected individuals in Texas, with four facilities: Ewing Center, Revlon Apartments, Hillcrest House and Spencer Gardens.
Ewing Center consists of 22 units — five one-bedroom apartments, 15 efficiencies and two special need beds/rooms. Revlon Apartments are designed to accommodate individuals and families, with 20 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom apartments.
Hillcrest House, which provides service to individuals who are formerly homeless and living with HIV/AIDS, has 64 single-unit efficiencies. And Spencer Gardens, named in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, provides housing for 12 low-income families.
ASD provides morning and lunchtime meals five days a week and coordinates dinner meals through the Supper Club volunteer program. For immobile clients, the program also provides carryout meal services.
For transportation services, ASD provides a 15-person van to provide regularly scheduled trips to a local food pantry, supermarket and second-hand clothing stores. It also carries residents to and from medical appointments and social service appointments and is used to transport residents to recreational activities planned and implemented by the Resident Councils.
ASD’s case management program provides professional social work staff to determine the psychosocial services needed for each individual resident and assist them in accessing community-based service providers. In addition, the social workers provide on-site case management, substance abuse counseling, individual and group counseling and grief support as needed.
The Social Work Department provides recreational activities for the children of ASD and helps their adjustment to the community and public schooling. With funding from the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program, ASD has hired a children’s activity coordinator to provide recreation during the summer months for the children residing at ASD.
ASD provides 24-hour care and support for its residents. Nurses provide both care and support to residents as well as implement the health maintenance programs. Personal care aides monitor every individual’s needs and habits and provide full-time assistance with routine tasks of daily living for HIV-positive residents.
Legacy Counseling Center and Legacy Founders Cottage
Established more than 20 years ago, Legacy Counseling Center provides mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment and housing services for individuals affected by HIV and AIDS. Melissa Grove is executive director. Legacy’s offices are located at 4054 McKinney Ave., Suite 102. The phone number is 214-520-6308 and the website is LegacyCounseling.org.
Legacy Counseling Center provides both individual and group therapy. In individual therapy, individuals receive one-on-one private therapy sessions with licensed professional counselors specially trained in mental health issues of persons affected by HIV and AIDS.
They assist with coping, anxiety, depression and survivor guilt as well as medication compliance.
Group therapy is offered both during the day and the evening and helps HIV-infected individuals contend with many unique issues, and include female-only groups, Spanish-speaking groups and other targeted groups.
Legacy’s Substance Abuse Program provides intensive outpatient substance abuse treatments along with ongoing relapse prevention services for HIV-positive individuals. The program also educates clients about drug abuse and how it ties in with HIV and AIDS in both group and individual therapy. The outpatient therapy schedule can be tailored to the individual’s needs.
To take part in these programs, the individual must be HIV-positive with a letter of diagnosis, at least 18 years old and must remain alcohol and drug-free during the program.
Legacy also operates the Legacy Founders Cottage, a licensed, seven-room special-care facility for people living with AIDS in critical stages of their illness who require 24-hour supervised care.
Youth First Texas
Youth First Texas is staffed by Director of Development and Administration Sam Wilkes. The YFT offices are located at 3918 Harry Hines Blvd. The phone number is 214-879-0400 or, toll-free, 866-547-5972. The center is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
YFT offers free counseling to LGBTQ youth ages 22 and younger through volunteer counselors. All counselors are licensed professionals or student interns working under the supervision of a licensed counselor. All legal and ethical guidelines are followed including confidentiality and keeping files. Youth under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent or guardian before receiving individual counseling services.
Counselors address issues such as coming out, family and school issues, bullying, self-mutilation, depression, isolation, relationships and dating, gender identity and expression, and drug and alcohol abuse.
YFT offers three main groups, but these may be supplemented with other support groups as the need arises. The three support groups are Survivors, Gender Identity and Coming Out.
Survivors’ Group is a peer support group for youth who have suffered isolation, abuse or other trauma, offering them the opportunity to discuss things that are troubling them and receive feedback from peers in a safe space. This group is held on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Gender Identity Group is specific to youth dealing with issues related to gender identity and expression. The group is also open to youth who are curious about their gender-variant peers and gender issues in general. It is held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Coming Out Group deals with thoughts and feelings about sexuality. YFT periodically offers a four-week support group, providing an opportunity to share with a small group of peers about sexuality and coming out.
YFT also offers multiple educational programs throughout the year. Among these are book club, café cinema, GED tutoring, “Our Roots Are Showing,” Youth Defenders and GSA Network. The center also offers many recreational activities, such as Dallas PUMP!, Friday Night Kula Feast, Movie Camp, Open Mic Night, and the YFT Dance Group.
Throughout the year YFT participates in softball through the Pegasus SlowPitch Softball Association, volleyball through Dallas Independent Volleyball Association, concerts by the
Turtle Creek Chorale, theater performances by Uptown Players and other functions. YFT participants are also kept privy to queer-related opportunities such as performing at their annual fashion show Give E’m Heel and the Gayla Prom by Resource Center Dallas.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY | AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles, left, and IT Manager Cory Claflin look at the blueprints as they inspect the finish-out work at the new Oak Cliff clinic on Sunset Street. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)
AIDS Arms begins staffing new clinic and plans September opening
Dr. Gene Voskuhl will become the new medical director of AIDS Arms effective Aug. 22, a job change Voskuhl said this week is “one heck of an opportunity.”
AIDS Arms’ former medical director, Dr. Keith Rawlings, is moving to San Francisco to take a job in private industry. Rawlings helped develop AIDS Arms’ medical program and opened its Peabody Health Center in South Dallas in 2001.
Voskuhl will join the organization as it expands its health services with a second clinic set to open in Oak Cliff in September. He is an internist specializing in infectious diseases, and was clinical director at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Medicine in Oklahoma City where he worked with underserved populations affected by HIV.
Voskuhl said that his Oklahoma clinic was also a Ryan White-funded facility.
Currently, Voskuhl is a doctor with Uptown Physicians Group, one of the largest private practices with an HIV specialty in Dallas, and he was an infectious disease consultant at Baylor University Medical Center. Preparing for his departure, Uptown is currently placing his patients with other physicians within the practice.
In addition to seeing patients at the AIDS Arms clinic, Voskuhl is excited about the research program already underway at Peabody. Current clinical care and prevention strategies are two areas in of focus in the agency’s research work.
One upcoming study includes using pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, therapy.
“No one knows how well it will work,” Voskuhl said.
But he said it was one approach to prevention for discordant couples trying to prevent the negative partner from contracting HIV. He said that for high-risk people not practicing safe sex, it might also be useful.
Voskuhl said that AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles is an important part of the reason he decided to take the new position, and he praised her commitment to helping people with HIV.
“It’s an important job in the community,” he said. “When the opportunity came up, I said, ‘I have to do this.’”
Voskuhl said he is glad the position will give him an opportunity to focus on HIV care, because “That’s truly my passion.”
The new Oak Cliff clinic is expected to provide medical care to 2,500 patients in addition to several thousand already served at Peabody. Dallas County Health and Human Services estimates 6,000 HIV-positive people in Dallas County do not receive any medical care.
Voskuhl said the clinic was a real safety net. Many of the clients don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid and have no insurance.
“The only other option is Amelia Court,” the HIV clinic at county hospital Parkland Memorial, he said.
The AIDS Arms clinic, however, will also serve patients with insurance who decide to access AIDS Arms’ variety of services and receive their medical care in one location. In addition to new, state-of-the-art facilities, a variety of social services that AIDS Arms offers and other programs will be available at the Oak Cliff clinic.
Although work on the multi-million dollar clinic is nearing completion, fundraising continues in the agency’s Call to Arms campaign.
Buoyed by the phenomenal fundraising of Miss LifeWalk 2011 winner Lotta Pink — who came in to the pageant with sponsors and $7,000 already raised — the final tally for the event was $18,000. Lotta took not only the top title, but also Miss Money Bags for her pre-show fundraising.
LifeWalk, which raises money for AIDS Arms, Inc.,is a 3.2 miles fun walk through the Turtle Creek area. It takes place this year on Oct. 2.
AIDS service organizations in North Texas offer a variety of programs and services to people with HIV/AIDS — from case management, to meals, to housing. Here is a list of the major ASOs in North Texas, what programs and services they offer now, and what they plan to offer in the future:
• AIDS ARMS
351 West Jefferson Blvd. Suite 300
Dallas 75208; 214-521-5191
What they do: HIV testing and prevention, long term risk reduction intervention, community outreach and education, client eligibility and intake, case management, outpatient medical care, medication assistance, medical case management, substance abuse and mental health treatment and support, prison outreach and community re-entry, support groups, client education.
What’s new and upcoming: In May, AIDS Arms broke ground on their second clinic that should open by the end of the summer. In addition to providing health services for persons with HIV not currently accessing medical care, the new facility will have resource rooms to bring the services of a variety of agencies under one roof.
A new pharmacy will open in the facility to provide the medications needed by clients.
Research will take place at the new clinic including looking into new PrEP treatments for persons with HIV.
• AIDS Interfaith Network
501 N. Stemmons, Suite 200
Dallas TX 75207; 214-941-7696
What they do: Outreach, linguistic services, HIV prevention and prevention for minority women, client advocacy, transportation services, The Daire Center adult daycare, meals program, volunteer services, pastoral services.
What’s new and upcoming: Programmatically, Executive Director Steven Pace said the agency would like to shift more resources to prevention. Pace put together a coalition of four agencies — AIN, ASD, Legacy and Legal Hospice of Texas — that plan to locate in one building. The Coalition for HIV/AIDS Services, as the multi-tenant non-profit center will be known, is negotiating for a building in North Oak Cliff and hope to begin renovation in 2012. The new building would eliminate leasing, allow the agencies to pool some services and equipment and provide one-stop shopping for clients.
• AIDS Outreach Center
400 North Beach Street
Fort Worth 76111
What they do: The Sandy Lanier Nutrition Center, Geisel-Morris Dental Clinic, medical case management and mental health counseling programs.
What’s new and upcoming: Two years ago, AOC began offering more direct medical services with its dental clinic. Over the next two to three years, Executive Director Allen Gould said his agency would like to add more direct medical services including a clinic and a pharmacy to meet all of the needs of clients in one central location. He said they are determining whether to partner or build on their own to provide the services that would compliment what’s being done at the public hospitals.
• AIDS Service Dallas
P.O. Box 4338
Founded: 1985 as the People With AIDS Coalition
What they do: Housing. ASD operates four apartment complexes to serve 225 men, women and children in 125 privately configured apartments.
What’s new and upcoming: ASD partners with Community Housing Development Organization developers to create models of senior housing throughout North Texas. As a consultant/co-developer, ASD receives incentive fees, which is unrestricted money that goes toward AIDS programs. The agency already owns three lots behind Hillcrest House. ASD President and CEO Don Maison said that they’re working on zoning so they can develop the property. With 350 people on the waiting list for housing, Maison said he hopes to develop additional housing in Oak Cliff and elsewhere in the city.
• Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation
P.O. Box 225104
Dallas, Texas 75222
What they do: Bring support, health and medicine to people living with HIV/AIDS in the form of help with COBRA payment assistance, medication payment assistance, bus passes, rent, utility and emergency assistance.
What’s new and upcoming: “We’re a new agency, so we’re securing more funding to do more of what we’re already doing,” said Anthony Chisom. In the fall, the agency hopes to be able to include cell phone bills in its utility assistance program. This fall, Chisom is taking an exploratory trip to Malawi with hope to open a clinic there and is looking for partners to help make that happen.
• A Sister’s Gift
1515 N. Town East Blvd. #138-380
What they do: Services for women with HIV including testing, counseling and group sessions, short-term emergency assistance, case management, buddy program, education programs.
What’s new and upcoming: “Being a seven-year-old agency, our primary agency objectives center around introducing the community and stakeholders to our female-based service structure — being apparent females living with HIV need a different type of support than what was provided 30 years ago,” said Executive Director and CEO Cheryl Lewis Edwards. “Our long-term strategic plan hopes that ASG can serve as a catalyst for the community, clients and families to talk about HIV with the same ease the public now speaks about breast cancer.”
• Health Services of North Texas
4210 Mesa Drive
Denton, Texas 76207
Founded: 1988 as AIDS Services of North Texas
What they do: With offices in Denton, Plano and Greenville, HSNT serves a five-county area including Rockwall and Kaufman Counties and areas of Dallas north of LBJ Freeway. HSNT provides a variety of services from HIV testing to transportation, primary health care services, food pantry, insurance assistance and case management.
What’s new and upcoming: The agency is focusing on becoming a Federally Qualified Health Center and expanding in the direction of providing primary health care to low-income people while continuing a special focus on persons with HIV.
• Legal Hospice of Texas
3626 N. Hall, Suite 820
Founded: in 1989 as Dallas Legal Hospice
What they do: Legal services for low-income persons diagnosed with terminal illnesses or HIV disease.
What’s new and upcoming: Executive Director Roger Wedell said that as people live longer, the cases his agency handles become more complex. Founded to do simple estate planning, Legal Hospice now works on complex long-term disability and employment issues that may take months to resolve. He said he thought that trend will continue.
• Legacy Counseling Center
4024 McKinney Ave., Suite 102
What they do: Mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment, and special care housing services for people challenged with HIV and AIDS.
What’s new and upcoming: Executive Director Melissa Grove said that Legacy has had 1100 percent growth over the last decade. The agency is looking for new therapists, especially gay male therapists, to meet the need. Legacy is also planning to expand its women’s programs so that women from around the state can attend its retreats. Fewer terminal patients stay at Legacy Cottage that once exclusively did hospice care. More people are at a crucial moment of their illness who are integrated back into a productive life.
• Resource Center Dallas
3701 Reagan St.
Founded: in 1983 as the Foundation for
What they do: Operate the AIDS Resource Center, Nelson Tebedo Clinic, AIDS Food Pantry as well as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center.
What’s new and upcoming: Currently RCD is expanding dental programs and has a capital campaign to build new community center on land already purchased that is adjacent to Cathedral of Hope on the corner of Inwood and Cedar Springs Roads. The Center will bring all of its programs under one roof and continue to provide additional meeting space and services for community groups. Executive Director Cece Cox said that over the next few years, the agency is looking to expand a number of health programs to the general LGBT community that are now funded only for people with HIV and a new major focus will be general wellness programs.
• Samaritan House
929 Hemphill St.
Fort Worth 76104
What they do: Housing and resources for persons living with HIV/AIDS and other special needs in Fort Worth.
What’s new and upcoming: After being refused a zoning variance last year for an additional property, Samaritan House recently began a collaboration with another non-profit to operate 184 units of quality, affordable housing for low-income individuals and families. Over the next few years, President and CEO Steve Dutton said that he hopes to provide additional housing for people with HIV/AIDS.