Let’s hear it for Melissa: Happy 19th Anniversary

Melissa Grove

Melissa Grove, Legacy Counseling executive director (Photo by Chuck Marcelo)

No matter how dedicated you are, working in the HIV/AIDS field is a draining profession. For so many, many years, people were dying so quickly. Our AIDS activists were fighting to save their friends, and every death took a little more from them. Those involved with HIV/AIDS, whether as activists or caregivers — or both — burned out quickly.

Treatments have improved over the years. People with HIV/AIDS are living longer now, with better quality of life. But still, it is a difficult field in which to work.

And that’s what makes people like Melissa Grove, executive director of Legacy Counseling Center, so very, very special.

Today, the Legacy Counseling staff used the agency’s Facebook page to wish Grove a happy 19thanniversary as Legacy’s ED, and thank her for her service to the agency and to the community:

“Happy 19 year anniversary to our Executive Director, Melissa Grove M.S., LPC!

“Melissa Grove, M.S., LPC, Executive Director, has a background in Geri-Psychiatrics, Supported Housing, and Mental Health management. Ms. Grove has worked with Legacy since 1992 and opened and managed Legacy Founders Cottage since its inception in 1996. Prior to her position at Legacy Counseling Center she managed a sixty bed psychiatric unit for ADAPT of Texas, Inc. Other experiences include working with clients with schizophrenia, emotionally disturbed children, alcoholic Mescalero Indians, adults with retardation, terminally ill elderly and Haitian families. She has done research on the computerized DSM program, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for Veterans, and attachment disorder. A therapist herself, Ms. Grove mans the 24 hour a day suicide crisis line for Legacy.

“Thank you for all of your leadership and commitment to Legacy over the years! From founding the Founders Cottage to opening our housing programs to putting together the largest conference in the nation for HIV positive women themselves, you are touching to many lives of those living with HIV/AIDS in unimaginable ways.

“Thank you!”

On behalf of the staff at Dallas Voice, let me just add that Melissa Grove is one of the nicest, funniest, craziest and most genuine people we have ever had the pleasure of working with. She has also always been wiling to work with us and make herself accessible to us whenever we need her help or input on a story.

Melissa, you make our jobs so much easier, even when you are not having the easiest time. Like your staff, we appreciate you, we love you and we hope to have the chance to work with you for many years to come.

—  Tammye Nash

Legacy Counseling luncheon marks Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

legacylogoLegacy Counseling Center presents “Love After HIV/AIDS,” a lunch and learn event that explores disclosure, marriage, family and issues important to people living with HIV, in honor of Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Tuesday, March 10.

About one in four people living with HIV are women, and about 217,000 women — 80 percent of whom are of childbearing age (15 to 44) — are HIV-positive.

A number of issues surrounding HIV are specific to women dealing with the virus.

If you are pregnant and HIV-positive, take HIV medicine. If you take medicine, the risk of passing HIV to your baby is less than 1 percent, according to a press release sent by Legacy.

Even when they know their status, about one in four women postpone medical care because of barriers such as family, depression or threat of partner violence. Legacy urged women who are HIV-positive to seek medical care and call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

The luncheon takes place at noon at The Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak St. and is free. RSVP to attend email info@legacycounseling.org or call 214-520-6308 ext. 384.

—  David Taffet

Christmas Stocking Auction raises funds for Legacy Founders Cottage

The annual Christmas Stocking Auction at the Round-Up Saloon on Sunday, Dec. 14 raised $19,000 for Legacy Counseling Center’s Legacy Founders Cottage. Founders Cottage provides hospice and rehabilitative care for people living with HIV.

—  David Taffet

Storm damages Legacy’s building

IMG_9860

All the glass is missing from the skylight at Legacy Counseling Center

Yesterday’s torrential storm did damage all around the city, and one space not spared was Legacy Counseling Center.

Melissa Grove, executive director of Legacy, jokes that she was “lying in her office getting a suntan,” because the storm blew out the atrium skylight window at the agency’s McKinney Avenue headquarters and counseling office.

“Despite the roof being blown off, we continued to serve our clients, because that’s what we do,” Grove said.

She said the building lost electricity and suffered some water damage. Pieces of the skylight smashed through the windshield of one agency counselor’s car.

Grove  said everyone is safe and agency operations continue as normal, but I suggested it might be a good fundraising opportunity.

“Hey, I’ll always ‘ho’ out for donations,” Grove said. Donations to help repair office damage can be made here.

—  David Taffet

Legacy begins 25th anniversary celebration with Mad Men and PositiviTea

Mad-MenLegacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage kicks off its 25th anniversary celebration in March with Mad Men, Cocktails and Canapes, a 1960s-inspired cocktail party.

This exclusive event features live ’60s-era entertainment provided by Vince Martinez. Bartenders will be shaking and stirring Martinis, Manhattans, Old Fashions, and Pink Ladies. Savory hors d’oeuvres and traditional canapés will also be served to top off the 60s atmosphere.

So, dress in your best 1960s attire to mingle among the Grace Kellys, Marilyn Monroes, Jackie Kennedys and Rock Hudsons.

positivitea“This weekend of celebratory events kicks off our 25 year anniversary. We start with an elegant evening of Mad Men, then have a late tea the next day at Positivitea,” Legacy Executive Director Melissa Grove said.

Mad Men takes place at Sky Club Roof Top Lounge at the Mayfair on Turtle Creek, 3401 Lee Parkway on March 1 from 7–10 p.m. Tickets are available online.

PositiviTea is a celebration of the special talents and gifts of the Grace Project women living with HIV. The event features a showcase of Dallas fashion and art and takes place at Royal Sixty, 150 Turtle Creek Blvd., #202 on March 2 from 3–5 p.m.

“We are asking the community to consider becoming an elite Silver Season Pass Holder, which entitles you to all of our events and special treatment, along with things like naming rights to the counseling and Cottage rooms,” Grove said. “We hope that people will acknowledge our anniversary by showing their support for us.”

—  David Taffet

Legacy needs donations to outfit 24 apartments by next week

Ready Set HomeLegacy Counseling Center needs household items for 24 apartment units it’s preparing for people with HIV/AIDS who are homeless.

A grant is covering the cost of the apartments for one year and a bed, dresser, table and chairs but nothing else.

On Sept. 28, Legacy is holding a drive to outfit the apartments and make them homes. Items can be dropped off in the Legacy parking lot, 4054 McKinney Ave. from 9 a.m. to noon.

Items can be new or used.

Below is a list of things needed:

—  David Taffet

Razzle Dazzle Dallas, MetroBall distribute $59K to beneficiaries

43000

Razzle Dazzle Dallas presents a check for $43,000 to the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.

Razzle Dazzle Dallas distributed $59,000 from its events to its beneficiaries last night at Sue Ellen’s. The total was several thousand dollars more than last year.

Thelma Houston headlined the Metro Ball at S4 on June 7 benefiting the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund. That organization provides financial assistance for critical needs such as rent and utility payments when all other resources are exhausted.

GDMAF received $43,000. That’s a $10,000 increase over last year. Razzle Dazzle chair John Cooper-Lara attributed that to a very successful silent auction and Houston’s enthusiastic participation in the live auction.

The Main Event, held on June 8 at Main Street Garden, benefited AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, Cedar Springs Beautification Project, Legacy Counseling Center, Legal Hospice of Texas, Resource Center Dallas, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas and Turtle Creek Chorale. Those groups will share $16,000.

This was the first year the Main Event was held off Cedar Springs Road. The amount distributed to the community organizations was down from last year’s $25,000. Organizers plan to return Downtown next year and hope the event will build into a larger Pride party.

16000

Board members from Razzle Dazzle Dallas with a check for eight LGBT organizations.

—  David Taffet

ExxonMobil funds summer interns at 2 AIDS agencies

Melissa Grove

Melissa Grove

ExxonMobil is funding summer internships for college students at 30 area nonprofit organizations, including AIDS Services Dallas and Legacy Counseling Center.

The Legacy intern will assist Program Director Brooke Nickerson at Legacy Founders Cottage.

“Brooke’s job is challenging,” said Executive Director Melissa Grove. “I liken it to having seven sick family members living at your house and your job is to coordinate all of their care, ensure the house is moving smoothly, get them to appointments, pick up medication and grocery shop. She welcomes the help!”

The ASD intern will work with the children living at the facility, according to the agency’s CEO Don Maison. He said they’ve had an intern funded by Exxon for about 10 years who takes the children to Six Flags, the library and museums.

“Keeping them off the street,” he said.

Also among the 30 agencies are the Center for Nonprofit Management, which has been a good resource for a number of LGBT and AIDS organizations and Promise House, which partners with Youth First Texas for emergency youth shelter and transitional living.

Several arts organizations will have ExxonMobil interns, including Dallas Black Dance Theater and Undermain Theater.

College students interested in applying should contact the agencies.

—  David Taffet

More on LGBT holiday fundraisers

Tavern Guild members put together and distributed gift baskets for clients of area AIDS service providers today

With so many holiday charity fundraising activities going on in the LGBT community this week, there wasn’t room to talk about all of them in Friday’s print edtiion. Here’s a little more about some of the projects and how to give:

—  David Taffet

Scenes from World AIDS Day Dallas at Main Street Garden

Seven panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt formed the centerpiece of the World AIDS Day commemoration on Saturday in Dallas’ Main Street Garden.

Members of the Knitting Circle, a group of HIV-positive women from Legacy Counseling Center’s Grace Project, wore red scarves they knitted for the first time. The project is designed to increase knowledge and decrease loneliness for those in communities where HIV remains a taboo subject.

Among the quilts displayed was one with a panel for Tom Davis, founder of the Round-Up Saloon; David Barton, founder of Hunky’s; and Alan Ross, the Pride parade organizer. On another quilt was a panel for Steve Burrus, a Dallas man who co-founded DIFFA.

Another is the most requested panel in the entire 50,000-panel quilt. It reads: “My name is Duane Kearns Puryear. I was born on December 20, 1964. I was diagnosed with AIDS on September 7, 1987 at 4:45 pm. I was 22 years old. Sometimes it makes me very sad. I made this panel myself. If you are reading it, I am dead.”

Puryear made that panel at a quilt-making workshop at Resource Center Dallas, where it hung until he took it to Washington, D.C. in 1989 for a quilt display on the National Mall. On his flight home, he left it in the overhead bin and the original was never seen again. When he died in 1990, his mother made this replica from a picture and it is her replica that is part of the quilt.

Among the speakers were Otis Harris who was featured on Saturday in an MTV special, I’m Positive, and Zach Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

More photos below.

—  David Taffet