“It’ll be a gay old weekend” in North Texas

Last year, the inaugural North Texas “Come As You Are” Pride Party had 60 inquiries, but ended up with more than 220 guests. “It was a heartfelt success,” said Morris Garcia, who organized the event along with partner Tim Phillips. This year, the party has 189 confirmed guests on Facebook, and Garcia is hoping the number of attendees will again be double that number.

The family-oriented event was created to help bring unity, awareness and education to a seemingly conservative community. The Pride Party was created by Garcia, current board member and former Collin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance president, and Phillips. Last year’s inaugural Come as You Are Pride Party exceeded expectations. Garcia said he and Phillips had been sitting on the idea for a Pride Party for five years when they finally decided to put one on.

Morris Garcia

This year’s North Texas “Come as You Are” Pride party is slated for Saturday, June 23 at Tierney’s Café and Tavern in Old Town Lewisville from 6-11 p.m. There will be drink specials, face painting, door prizes and vendor booths, as well as dancing to the music styling of The Ducado Vega Band (6-8 p.m.) and ending the night with DJ Fierce.

Raffles for specialty items from TapeLenders, a $175 spa gift certificate, Mocha Bakery gift certificates, along with kid-friendly items such as iTunes and McDonald’s gift cards, are up for grabs. Tickets may by purchased for $10 online at www.NorthTexasPride.com or $15 at the door, cash only.

Garcia is again spearheading the planning along with a slew of volunteers and a committee made up of Matthew Bado, Gene Goodwin, J.J. McCormick, Belinda Carmickle and  Rosemarie Odom. Odom is co-founder of Community, Unity, Respect and Education, or C.U.R.E.

Garcia said the proceeds to the “Come as You Are” pride party will benefit Health Services of North Texas and C.U.R.E., as well as help with the growth and planning of next year’s Pride Party.

—  admin

World AIDS Day event planned in Plano

Roseann Rosetti opening a Quilt panel

In addition to co-sponsoring the World AIDS Day event at the new Main Street Garden in Dallas, C.U.R.E. will host a commemoration in Plano.

Billed as a ceremony of healing and hope, the Plano gathering will remember people lost to AIDS. Panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display. It takes place at Community Unitarian Universalist Church at 2875 East Parker Road. Plano-based Health Services of North Texas is also sponsoring.

“Our ceremony will include the dedication of new panels created by family and friends of a loved one lost to AIDS,” said C.U.R.E. co-founder Roseann Rosetti. “The new panels will be presented to The Names Project Foundation to be included as part of the nationally acclaimed AIDS Memorial Quilt.”

Anyone with a new panel to present may attend the ceremony.

“If you would like to present a panel in honor of someone you know and love, C.U.R.E. will be honored have you dedicate and present your panel at our World AIDS Day ceremony,” Rosetti said.

The panels will be sent to the Names Project’s home in Atlanta to be sewn into blocks for exhibit.

—  David Taffet

AIDS at 30: North Texas ASO info

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
Founded: 1986
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
Founded: 1986
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
817-335-1994
Founded: 1986
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
Dallas 75208
214-941-0523
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
Phone: 214-239-9145
Founded: 2008
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
Mesquite 75150
214-421-4274
Founded: 2003
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
940-381-1501
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
Dallas 75219
214-521-6622
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
Dallas 75204
214-520-6308
Founded: 1991
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.
Dallas 75219
Founded: in 1983 as the Foundation for
Human Understanding
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
817-332-6410
Founded: 1991
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.

—  John Wright