As funding cuts loom, LifeWalk helps fill the gaps

Walkers can register themselves — and their dogs — online to participate in the 21st annual event benefiting AIDS Arms, 7 partners

LifeWalk
WALK ON | Walkers head out along the 3.2-mile route out in the the 20th annual AIDS LifeWalk in 2010. Tori Hobbs, development director for AIDS Arms Inc., said funds from the walk this year are vital to AIDS Arms and its partner beneficiary agencies due to further cuts in funding from the federal government.

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

As local AIDS service organizations face even more cuts this year in federal and state funding, local fundraising efforts are becoming increasingly important in their efforts to keep their programs alive. One of those local fundraisers is the annual AIDS LifeWalk, produced each year by AIDS Arms, Inc.

This year’s walk, the 21st annual event set for Sunday, Oct. 2, also benefits AIDS Arms’ seven partner agencies: AIDS Services of Dallas, Bryan’s House, the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, Legal Hospice of Texas, Resource Center Dallas, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas and the Turtle Creek Chorale.

Tori Hobbs, director of development for AIDS Arms, said this week that LifeWalk this year is expected to account for about 5 percent of the agency’s annual budget.

“As the government cuts back on funding to those most vulnerable, agencies such as AIDS Arms must try and fill in the gaps,” Hobbs said. “LifeWalk is a very direct way to fill in those gaps in needed services for those impacted by HIV/AIDS.”

Hobbs said that currently, walker registrations online — and fundraising — are lagging a bit off the pace set by last year’s 20th annual LifeWalk, “so we really need folks to get signed up to walk and start asking their friends and families to support them in the walk.”

She said that individuals can register online, at AIDSLifeWalk.org, and that when they do so, they can create their own fundraising page and use that page to send emails directly to friends and family members to ask for donations.

The cost to register is $40 per person, and walkers can get their pets in on the fundraising effort as well, registering their dogs, for $10 per pooch, for LifeBark.

LifeWalk begins and ends at Lee Park. On-site registration begins at 11:30 a.m. in Lee Park on the day of the walk, and the walk itself begins at 1 p.m.

“All the funds we raise will go directly to access medical care for our clients with HIV/AIDS,” Hobbs said. “These clients can come to AIDS Arms and find the care they need. We are there to tell them that there is hope.

“We are really feeling the cuts from Washington right now, and we really need people to turn out again this year to support this walk, and to be part of this wonderful and caring community,” Hobbs said.

For more information or to register for LifeWalk, go online to AIDSLifeWalk.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

DONATION

PURPLE PARTY PEOPLE  | The executive board and associate board of the Purple Party presented Don Maison and Mary Beth O’Connor, center, of AIDS Services of Dallas a check for $50,000 at Revlon House. The money was raised at the April 28-May 1 event and was donated in memory of Peter Brown, a long-time board member who died in July. Purple Party is one of the largest all-volunteer charity circuit parties in the country and has donated a total of more than $400,000, board members said. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Happy Birthday, Donna Dumae!

Donna Dumae

Over the years Don Jenkins, through his drag alter ego Donna Dumae, has helped raise thousands of dollars for charitable causes — most notably HIV/AIDS services — in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

This week, Don(na) turns 50 years old, and true to form, is using the occasion as yet another opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause.

Donna Dumae and Empress Anita Martini (who is also celebrating a birthday this week) are hosting the “Golden Oldies” fundraising show and birthday party on Sunday, June 19, at The Brick/Joe’s, 2525 Wycliff Ave. Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit Resource Center Dallas’ Food Pantry, which helps feed people with HIV/AIDS.

Donna and Empress Anita are also inviting performers to join in. If you are interested in strutting your stuff for charity, get there by 6 to be part of the line-up. And if performing isn’t your strong point, then bring your wallet and show your appreciation for these folks who have been doing so much for so long to help others.

—  admin

Pride Fiesta at Club Exklusive on Sunday benefits LULAC scholarship recipients, AIDS Arms

Kaliente Management, Bravo Groups, Noches Latinas and LULAC 4871 have come together to raise money for a good cause.

FROM STAFF REPORTS

On Sunday, the weather promises to be hot like summer and the entertainment at the 2011 Cinco De Mayo Pride Fiesta is forecasted to be muy caliente!

The management of Kaliente and Club Exklusive will once again host Pride Fiesta this Sunday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Club Exklusive’s outside premises, 4207 Maple Ave. in Dallas. The event is free and open to the public.

On the main Budweiser Stage folklorico dance troupes, live singers, drag performances of Latin America’s most famous artists, and festive mariachis will continue the Cinco De Mayo holiday well into Sunday evening.

Food, games and refreshment booths, along with local artists, will be featured at this outdoor event for the whole family.

Pride Fiesta is an annual benefit that helps raise funds for the philanthropic projects of League of United Latin American Citizens’ LGBT chapter, LULAC 4871 – The Dallas Rainbow Council. Event proceeds will go toward the group’s Jesus Chairez — LULAC 4871 scholarship and to AIDS Arms Inc.

This is the third year for Pride Fiesta, which was originally held inside Kaliente night club and raised funds through generous patrons and drag performers donating their tips.

“This year Kaliente’s management decided to kick it up a notch and make it outside during the day, like a block party,” said Jesse Garcia, president of LULAC 4871. “I’m so grateful to the staff and entertainers at Kaliente and Club Exklusive for helping the LULAC Rainbow Council make a difference in the lives of young scholars and for supporting the largest AIDS services organization in North Texas that is currently expanding its clinic to help more people with HIV/AIDS.”

Budweiser, the Dallas Tavern Guild, Bravo Groups, and local Latino social networking group Noches Latinas have also been instrumental in making the 2011 Cinco De Mayo Pride Fiesta bigger and better, according to Garcia.

Along with favorite Mexican delicacies like tacos, tamales, tostadas and elotes, booths from Lambda Legal, LifeWalk and Resource Center Dallas will be featured.

Voter registration and HIV testing will be available on site.

A special guest at Pride Fiesta will be North Dallas High School graduate and University of Texas student Joseph Zuniga, this year’s winner of the 2011 Jesus Chairez – LULAC 4871 Scholarship. Zuniga, an openly gay Latino, is majoring in business. Zuniga’s father is currently working two jobs to help put him through school where Zuniga is currently excelling in courses and tutoring others to succeed as well. Zuniga’s resources go straight to tuition and cost-of-living expenses. He has had to borrow school books and check out books weekly from the library to keep up this semester.

“We are very proud of Joseph and the obstacles he overcame to make it at UT,” said Garcia. “We are also raising money for two additional candidates whose stories were so compelling we needed to award them as well.”

Diney Hobgood, is a senior at DISD’s Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School. This young straight ally who left home at an early age turned her situation around by concentrating on her studies and excelling in school. Hobgood is active in her school’s LULAC Youth Council, where she got to learn more about her Latino heritage and work on community service projects. She plans to go into medicine to help others.

Another young woman going into the field of medicine is Mignote Chamiso. This young scholar born in Ethiopia is on her way to realizing her American Dream. Placing No. 2 in her class at the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, Chamiso has been very active in community service and is a proud equal rights supporter of LGBT and Latino people.

“Both Hobgood and Chamiso will be awarded $500 by the LULAC 4871 council, and if Pride Fiesta is a success, we want to fully fund these young women at $1,000 each,” Garcia said. “These young scholars will lead the next generation into a more tolerant and accepting future.”

LULAC 4871 Board Member Melinda Rios, from left, scholarship recipient Joseph Zuniga and LULAC 4871 board member Sean Lozano.
LULAC 4871 President Jesse Garcia, scholarship recipient Diney Hobgood, and LULAC 4871 board member Sean Lozano.
LULAC 4871 board member Melinda Rios, from left, scholarship recipient Mignote Chamiso and LULAC 4871 board member Sean Lozano.

—  John Wright

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 03.25

Don’t mess with the jester
We’ve heard the sad clown bit before, but we think Verdi might have been the first with his opera Rigoletto. Ol’ Rig is a jester of the tragic kind, which is only made worse when a bunch of noblemen set out to do some major harm. And trust us, that’s not even the half of it.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 7:30 p.m. $59–$415. ATTPAC.org.

 

Saturday 03.26

Dinner’s nice but dessert is better
You might think “progressive supper” when someone says dinner at one place, dessert at another. No Tie Dinner is so not that. Have dinner with your friends, but convene for the most fabulous sweet endings at the posh Dessert Party later. Plus, it all benefits AIDS Services of Dallas, which is probably the sweetest deal of all.

DEETS: Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon Ave. 8 p.m. $50. NoTieDinner.org.

 

Sunday 03.27

Leave you wanting Maher
There is one thing we have to be thankful to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party for and that’s Bill Maher. Mixing humor and politics, the funny man is never without fodder or even a serious commentary thanks to them. And when it comes to LGBT rights, Maher’s been a vocal heavyweight in our corner. He’s practically the perfect man.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$75. ATTPAC.org.

—  John Wright

Spring break with a purpose

DIGGING IN | Alternative spring break trip leader Nate Bozarth and Emilie Patterson, one of seven other students who made the trip to Dallas with Bozarth, put their shovels to work doing landscaping work at AIDS Services of Dallas’ Hillcrest House. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

KSU students spend a week at AIDS Services Dallas as part of alternative spring break program

TAMMYE NASH | Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

When Nate Bozarth signed up to participate as a trip leader in the alternative spring break program at Kansas State University, his first choice was to go to Louisiana to help with ongoing efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina six years ago.

Then he realized that the Louisiana trip had two leaders assigned to it, while there was no leader assigned for the group coming to Dallas to volunteer at AIDS Services of Dallas.

“I saw that, and I said, ‘Why do you have two assigned to Louisiana when there’s no one for Dallas?’ I told them to switch me to Dallas,” Bozarth said. “Now, I am really glad it happened that way. I am glad I came to Dallas.”

Volunteering is not a new experience for Bozarth, a sophomore majoring in cultural anthropology and minoring in leadership studies. He said he works to help raise funds for an organization that builds schools in Pakistan. And last year, he spent his spring break building trails — yes, literally building trails — in the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee.

But this is his first real experience involving HIV/AIDS and people living with the virus.

“In health class in school, we talked some about safe sex and we talked about the medications people who have AIDS have to take, but not much else. That’s the most I really knew about it,” he said. “So I am really looking forward to learning more about AIDS, to seeing how it really affects people on a daily basis and to gaining a new perspective.”

Bozarth is the student leader for a group of eight (including him) KSU students who are spending the week here volunteering at AIDS Services of Dallas. He explained that the group was originally scheduled to arrive in Dallas on Sunday, March 20, and go back to school on Friday, March 25.

But when Bozarth talked to Mary Beth O’Connor, ASD’s volunteer services manager, those plans changed.

GIVING BACK | Anna Rogers, foreground, Alex Noblett and Meghan Kelly plant gladiola bulbs in a flower bed outside AIDS Services of Dallas’s Hillcrest House. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

“She asked me what days we would be here, and when I told her we were leaving Friday, she said, ‘Oh, that’s too bad! I wish you could be here Saturday to participate in the No Tie Dinner.’ And I said, then we will be there Saturday,” Bozarth said.

So the students made the nine-hour drive from KSU to Dallas on Tuesday and will leave on Sunday morning, giving them the chance to work on Friday helping set up for the No Tie Dinner and Dessert party, and then volunteering at the party itself on Saturday.

Bozarth was, he added, especially excited to get the chance to participate in ASD’s annual fundraising gala, because he has participated in other fundraising events and is glad to have the chance to “get another perspective” on the experience.

Bozarth said that the cost to participate in the alternative spring break program at KSU is $250 a student, although the college does have some scholarship funds to help students who want to participate but can’t afford it. Usually most of that money is spent on housing and feeding the students during their week of volunteer work.

On this trip, though, the students are being housed for free at Spencer Gardens, one of ASD’s several housing projects, and ASD is providing meals for them, too. As a result, the money that would normally have covered the cost of housing and food is not being spent.

“But instead of it just automatically coming back to us, the students, it’s all going to be donated to AIDS Services,” Bozarth said with a proud smile.

Bozarth — who said when he finishes school he wants to “work with poor people; I want to help people and I want to love people”— at first sounds too good to be true. But spend just a few minutes chatting with the other seven students — who spent the first part of their week in Dallas landscaping around ASD’s Hillcrest House — and it quickly becomes obvious Bozarth’s altruism is real, and it is shared.

Alex Noblett is a sophomore majoring in chemistry who is also “sort of pre-med.” He spent the week volunteering at ASD because “my spring break was open, and it just seemed like this would be a pretty good thing to do.”

Noblett said he wasn’t familiar with ASD, so when he started trying to decide which trip to register for, “I looked online to see what this place is about, and I really liked what I saw. So I chose this trip.”

Freshman Macy Warburton, studying political science and leadership studies, said she wanted to participate in alternative spring break because “service is very important to me, and I like being able to give back.” But like Bozarth, the ASD trip was not her first choice for alternative spring break.

“But now that I am here, I am really glad this is the trip I got. This is really opening my eyes to what it’s like to live with AIDS on a daily basis,” she said.

Stephanie Wilson, another freshman, is a health major who also is a student ambassador for the leadership studies program at KSU. For her this alternative spring back trip is “the perfect opportunity to give back to the community.”

Grant Langhofer, a sophomore kinesiology student at KSU, explained that he grew up in the relatively insulated environment of Wichita, Kansas, and he wanted to volunteer this week at ASD “because I thought I could get the most out of this trip. I talked to my advisor, and this was my only choice for alternative spring break. For me, it was come here [and volunteer at ASD] or nothing.”

Sophomore biology major Emilie Patterson chose to participate in alternative spring break because she wanted to have more opportunities to volunteer, and she chose to come to Dallas “because I have been to Texas before, and I like it here.”

Meghan Kelly, a sophomore pre-med student majoring in microbiology, had a friend in high school whose father had AIDS. So while she had an idea of how the virus affects a person, she said, she never talked much about it with her friend or the friend’s father.

“I chose to come on this trip because, first of all, I love volunteering. And I had researched AIDS Services and it just seemed like the most interesting of all the trips,” Kelly said.

“First of all, it gives me a chance to see how people in an urban environment like this live with AIDS, to see how it is different for people in the city than for people who live in the country,” she continued. “Plus, I had never had any experience working with a nonprofit agency [like ASD]. It’s really amazing to me see everything they have to offer.”

Microbiology student Anna Rogers is a junior, and she is the most experienced alternative spring break volunteer, since she has participated in the program all three of her college years so far.

She is also the most experienced when it comes to AIDS Services.

“I was here [at ASD] two years ago, during my first alternative spring break when I was a freshman, and I am really happy to have the chance to come back,” Rogers said. “When I came [to ASD] two years ago, I knew the science of AIDS. I knew how you got it. But that was the first time I saw how people actually live with AIDS. I could see for myself that they are people just like anyone else who just happen to have this disease, but they can still live and enjoy themselves in a positive environment.”

Bozarth explained that the alternative spring break trips are administered at KSU through the school’s leadership studies program, and that the leadership studies program is designed to help create “knowledgeble, ethical, caring, inclusive leaders for a diverse and changing world.

“Some people think leadership is something you are either born with or you aren’t; you have it or you don’t. In this program, we believe leadership can be taught, that everyone has the capacity, everyone is a leader in some capacity or another,” Bozarth said. “that’s why we are here this week, to learn more about how to be leaders and to try to give back to other people.

“But the truth is, we are the ones gaining,” he said. “I bet we are probably gaining more ourselves on this trip than we could ever possibly give.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2011.

—  John Wright

PHOTOS: Elizabeth Taylor in Dallas

Elizabeth Taylor, second from left, and AIDS Services of Dallas Executive Director Don Maison, far right, at Dillard’s at NorthPark Center in Dallas in 1996. (Dallas Voice file photos)

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, who died today at 79, was a founder of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Taylor was also chairwoman of amFAR in 1989 when the foundation provided a $100,000 grant that was used to start Resource Center Dallas’ Nelson-Tebedo Clinic. From the Dallas Morning News on Friday, April 28, 1989:

Leaders of the Dallas AIDS Resource Center announced Thursday that the agency had received a $100,000 grant to set up an AIDS research facility that will offer experimental drugs to people suffering from the deadly disease.

“This is a vital component that has been missing in Dallas,’ said William Waybourn, president of the Dallas Gay Alliance, which operates the resource center.

The grant, awarded by the American Foundation for AIDS Research, will establish a community clinic for AIDS research allowing AIDS patients to benefit from experimental treatments. The only other cities with such community research initiatives, as they are called, are New York and San Francisco.

“The need in Texas is particularly great for this type of research program,’ said Dr. Mathilde Krim, co-founder of the AIDS research foundation, which is based in New York. “There is virtually no clinical research being done in Texas. This will be the only opportunity for AIDS patients to get (experimental) drugs.’

The foundation divided $1.4 million among 16 community-based organizations for development of similar AIDS research programs. Groups in Austin and Houston also received grants.

In Dallas, plans are being made to open the Nelson-Tebedo Community Clinic for AIDS Research this summer at 4012 Cedar Springs Road, next door to the AIDS Resource Center’s offices. The center is named after Bill Nelson, a former president of the Gay Alliance, who has AIDS, and Terry Tebedo, a leader in the AIDS education movement who died from the disease in January 1988.

Later, Taylor would come to Dallas in 1996 and issue checks totaling $15,000 to Bryan’s House and AIDS Services of Dallas. Taylor visited Dillard’s in NorthPark Center to promote her new perfume, Elizabeth Taylor Black Pearls, and presented the checks to the AIDS services organizations at the end of the event. More pics after the jump.

—  John Wright

Jesuit students help out with No Tie Dinner

One of the perks of living in the area known as Greenway Crest — even if it’s just a guesthouse — is that I receive the Park Cities version of The Dallas Morning News’ Neighbors Go section. Needless to say, there’s rarely LGBT-related stuff in there, but last week was an exception. Neighbors Go featured a nice story, which was later reprinted in the actual DMN, about Jesuit College Preparatory School students who are helping out with the annual No Tie Dinner benefiting AIDS Services of Dallas, which is coming up on Saturday:

The students will be picking up desserts, hanging banners and setting up tables and auction items in preparation for the 2,000 guests expected to attend.

“These kids get it,” O’Conner said. “It’s not just required community service.”

In addition to AIDS Services’ annual fundraiser, Jesuit students also collect about 2,000 bottles of laundry detergent for the residents in an annnual drive. A handful of seniors volunteer every Wednesday to clean, paint, and even play bingo with the residents.

Once a month, the school’s clubs shop and cook for the residents and eat a meal with them, said Rich Perry, Jesuit director of community service.

For the students, it’s a life lesson.

“It puts things in perspective in life,” said senior Walker Mangin, a Wednesday volunteer. “You think more about what’s really important.”

For information on the No Tie Dinner, go here.


—  John Wright

Lone Star Ride training begins; 2 councilwomen receive scholarships to Velo-City conference

Lone Star Ride 2010
Lone Star Ride 2010

The Lone Star Ride held its first training ride of the year this weekend. A group of about a dozen cyclists met at the Oak Cliff Bike Shop in Bishop Arts and headed out on a 40-mile ride toward Lakewood and back.

LSR is held the last weekend in September and covers about 150 miles over two days. The ride raises money for Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Services of Dallas and the AIDS Outreach Center.

Meanwhile, the group Bike Friendly Oak Cliff announced that Dallas City Councilwomen Delia Jasso and Pauline Medrano received scholarships to attend this week’s Velo-City Conference in Seville, Spain. Only 10 city council members nationwide received full scholarships to attend.

Who knows, maybe Jasso and Medrano can be convinced to ride in this year’s Lone Star Ride.

And speaking of biking in Oak Cliff, getting a parking space in Bishop Arts on a Saturday morning is getting difficult. Oh, plenty of car parking. But the bike racks in front of Oddfellows — the new coffee shop that took Vitto’s old space — fill up fast.

 

—  David Taffet

HIV meds program on state’s chopping block

Ending assistance could cost communities millions in added ER care and hospitalization, advocates say

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Some of the more extreme budget cutters would like to eliminate the program that helps people without insurance receive life-sustaining medications, as the Texas Legislature struggles to pass a balanced budget.

“That would be called legalized murder,” said Don Maison, president and CEO of AIDS Services Dallas.

Among the more likely proposals being floated in Austin is to add only 400 to 500 people to the Texas HIV Medication Program (THMP) over the next two budget cycles, which runs four years.

Bret Camp

Local HIV healthcare providers said the proposed number is low compared to the number who will need the program.

Texas is a direct purchase state, according to Bret Camp, associate executive director of health and medical services for the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic at Resource Center Dallas. Camp explained that the state buys HIV medications and distributes them through a network of about 400 pharmacies throughout the state.

To qualify for THMP, a client must be diagnosed HIV-positive, be a Texas resident, be uninsured or under-insured for drug coverage, have income below 200 percent of the poverty level, and not receive Medicare.

Medicare recipients get their medication through the State Pharmacy Assistance Program.

In 1996, 5,100 people in Texas received their medication through THMP. Last year, the estimated number was 14,000.

Camp said he is concerned that increasing the number of eligible people over the next four years by just 400 would leave too many without the medications they need.

Camp said he expects the number of people needing assistance to increase significantly.

“The state is being responsible and promoting HIV testing,” he said. “The more testing, the more cases we’re likely to see.”

Just how much the state is spending on providing drugs for about 14,000 Texans with HIV is not known. Camp said that the state negotiates a price with the drug companies but does not publish the negotiated price.

“Nobody really knows what the price is,” Camp said.

Randall Ellis is the senior director of government relations for Legacy Community Health Services in Houston, formerly known as Montrose Clinic. He said that Texas probably pays in the range of $6,000 per year for someone in the program.

Individuals who have to purchase the drugs themselves or have insurance cover part of the price would pay closer to $24,000 or more.

Camp said that eliminating the program would save little when compared to the overall budget shortfall. But he said that the cost of caring for people who would have to make multiple emergency room visits and have extended hospital stays would be much higher than keeping them healthy in the first place.

Ellis said another problem is that the oversight committee, made up of stakeholders from around the state, sunsetted last fall. To reinstate the committee, the commissioner of Health and Human Services would simply have to repost the rules.

The committee made recommendations to the health department such as what drugs should be included in the program and what the eligibility requirements should be.

The commissioner, Ellis said, usually followed the committee’s recommendations. But the commissioner didn’t always want that input, he said.

“They want our input when it looks good to have community input,” Ellis said. “But when we ask tough questions, they’d rather not have us.”

Ellis does not expect all funding for THMP to be cut. He said that the state receives some funding through the federal AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

Camp said other states have thousands of people on waiting lists for ADAP programs.

“Florida is sorry right now,” he said. “They have dis-enrolled people.”

Florida has more than 3,000 waiting for medication. Unless those people find another way to get their medication, most will become sick, Ellis said, adding that if they are left untreated, those people will die.

Camp said that after recent hearings in the Senate Finance Committee, senators “seemed to leave with questions” that were on a level he hadn’t heard since early in the AIDS crisis.

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, the Texas HIV-AIDS Coalition is sponsoring Advocacy Day at the Capitol in Austin. A Dallas contingency will join groups from Houston, San Antonio and other cities as far as El Paso to talk to legislators about the need to fund the program.

For more information or to register for Advocacy Day, go TexasHIV.org.

—  John Wright