Legacy’s local HIV-positive women’s conference becomes national event

Michelle Anderson

More than 200 women are expected to attend this year’s Grace Project National HIV-Positive Women’s Conference after Legacy Counseling Center opened registration to women beyond North Texas for the first time in the event’s 12-year history.

The weekend includes 15 speakers. Among them is Michelle Anderson, Miss Plus America 2011. The “plus” is for plus-size, but she is also the first openly HIV-positive national beauty queen winner.

Women ages 17-77 are expected. Seven are in their 70s, according to Legacy Counseling Center Executive Director Melissa Grove.

“Grandpa got Viagra and grandma got AIDS,” she said.

The conference is to give the women support, educate them about their health and create grassroots leaders to talk to their communities about HIV/AIDS.

Grove said that many are low-income women.

“Many come not knowing another HIV-positive person,” she said.

—  David Taffet

Legacy adds walk-in counseling for holidays

Melissa Grove

Legacy Counseling Center Executive Director Melissa Grove says the agency will offer walk-in counseling for the holidays.

“The holidays can be stressful for a lot of gay people,” Grove said. “They might not get the acceptance at home that they have in Oak Lawn.”

She said that dealing with a chronic illness can compound the stress.

“We would like to be responsive,” she said.

Legacy offers counseling services to people who are HIV positive. Through the holidays, the Center is accepting new clients without an appointment Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s best to call first so we know you’re on your way,” Grove said. But walk-ins are accepted without even a phone call. She said a number of people have already taken advantage of the offer and most have been taken with little wait time.

Grove said that 90 percent of Legacy’s clients pay nothing. She said that in addition to all insurance, the agency takes Medicare, Medicaid and Northstar, the behavioral health arm of Medicaid. In addition, the agency receives grants and Ryan White to cover the cost of counseling for people who are HIV positive and are not covered by other plans and earn less than $32,000 a year.

Fundraising events also allow Legacy to serve anyone who needs its care.

“No one is ever turned away,” Grove said.

The annual Christmas Stocking Auction at the Round-Up Saloon on Sunday netted the counseling center $20,000.

“That’s the highest total in eight years,” Grove said. “I just can’t thank the Oak Lawn merchants enough. They never seem to get giving fatigue.”

On Jan. 3, Leslie Jordan returns to the Weisfeld Center in Dallas for Leslie Jordan’s Church Revival with Sister Helen Holy (Paul Williams) also to benefit Legacy. Grove said the $100 tickets include a traditional covered dish dinner — King Ranch chicken, tuna casserole with corn flakes — in the old church basement. Jordan will be mingling with guests through the dinner.

Jordan is best known for his role as Karen Walker’s nemesis Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace. Currently he is appearing on Desperate Housewives and plays a newspaper editor in the film The Help.

Tickets to Leslie Jordan’s Church Revival are available on line.

Legacy Counseling Center is located at 4054 McKinney Ave., Suite 102. 214-520-6308 ext. 1.

 

—  David Taffet

Apparently ‘Most Eligible Dallas’ token gay Drew Ginsburg is a DJ

These reality TV folks are always a surprise. Just in time for Pride, Drew Ginsburg will celeb-DJ the Pride Poule Party on Sept. 17. at the Joule. A portion of the proceeds go to “Drew’s charity, The Legacy Counseling Center.” Hey, that’s what the release says. But make up your mind quick. Deadline for RSVPs is Wednesday.

Now we wonder what Ginsburg will play. Will he mix tribal and house beats? Mix some trash disco? Will he sample some old R&B into today’s hits?

—  Rich Lopez

Kickoff tonight for Red Party, now in 3rd year

The kickoff party for the Third Annual Red Party benefiting Legacy Counseling Center is tonight at ilume. The Red Party is set for Sept. 15 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Tickets go on sale Saturday and will be available on the Red Party website. For sponsorship opportunities or more info, email Red Party Foundation co-founder Jared Pearce at Jared@RedPartyDallas.org. A full press release is below.

—  John Wright

Drawing Dallas

Even with a big family (3 kids and 5 grandkids), retired schoolteacher Richard John du Pont projects a dandy’s fashion sense

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name: Richard John du Pont

Occupation: Retired elementary school teacher

Spotted at: Kroger’s on the Strip

Colorful and vibrant, Richard was born and reared in upstate New York in a small town on the Mohawk River called Crescent. Retired since 2003, this tireless educator spent 30 years teaching 4th and 6th grades, and continues as a substitute teacher for the Dallas I.S.D (Sam Houston Elementary and Maple Lawn Elementary). He graduated with a bachelor’s in elementary education from the Central University of Iowa and a has masters in education from North Texas State University at Denton.

A man of taste: This silver-haired taste maker owns an exquisite collection of antiques, tastefully chosen to accent his beautiful home. He also lends his skill and expertise as a salesman to two estate sales and as a sales rep for Metrotex at the four large annual shows at the Dallas Trade Center.

Daddy dearest: This proud patriarch of two sons, one daughter and five grandsons sees family as the root of his life. His close-knit clan lives in the area so he is able to spend a lot of time with his children and grandchildren.

His hobbies include volunteer work for DIFFA, Legacy Counseling Center and Fresh, as well as traveling, reading, working out at Gold’s Gym Uptown, dancing and shopping. He collects vintage clothing and jewelry (more than 100 suits at least — he attends the Cathedral of Hope every Sunday in one of them with an antique brooch), and Converse and Vans shoes.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

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

Legacy Counseling Center receives Meadows grant

Melissa Grove

Money will help agency provide counseling to people who are unable to afford care

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Legacy Counseling Center has received a $25,000 grant from the Meadows Foundation.

This is the second grant the agency has received from the foundation. The first was in 1997. That grant helped Legacy open Legacy Founders Cottage, the Oak Cliff facility that provides special care in a homelike environment for people living with AIDS in critical stages of their illness who require 24-hour supervision.

Legacy Counseling Center is the Southwest’s largest provider of mental health and substance abuse services directed specifically to persons challenged with HIV and AIDS.

The grant will help provide counseling for people who can’t otherwise afford it and don’t fit other grant sources.

Legacy Executive Director Melissa Grove said, “This grant allows us to accept anyone who needs care.”

She said that Meadows used to focus more on capital improvement funding. Her organization used the money from the 1997 grant to make the cottage more handicapped accessible with more security.

“Those are benefits that are lasting to this day,” she said.

With the current economy, she said, Meadows opened their funding to other types of services.

“One of the reasons we requested the funding,” she said, “We’re seeing more people than ever with so many people out of work.”

She said that over the years issues among her clients has changed.

“When I first started, we were helping people deal with the fact they were going to die,” Grove said. “Now we help people learn how to live.”

But even over the last few years, she said, the issues have changed. There’s a lot more workplace stress today.

“While it’s illegal to fire someone who is positive, it happens all the time,” she said. “If someone is positive and driving up the premiums, that’s the first person laid off.”

Grove was proud of her agency’s quick response when necessary.

“This morning we got a call from the health department about someone in crisis,” she said. “We got them in within 30 minutes.”

She also told the success story of one of her clients who gave her a signed release to tell the story. She said he had been homeless for years. He came to the cottage from Parkland.

“We got him healthy, on HIV meds for the first time and into our substance abuse program,” she said.

Now he’s living in his own apartment for the first time, functioning and coming to group. Grove said that while he’s on disability now, she has even higher hopes for him in the future.

She said that was an example of an extreme case that is now easier for Legacy to handle with the grant money.

Meadows Foundation was founded in 1948 and has provided more than half a billion dollars to more than 2,000 Texas agencies in Texas.

—  John Wright

Red Party Foundation Kickoff Party at BJ’s

The Red Party Foundation Kick-Off Party at BJ’s NXS on April 21 raised an estimated $4,000, according to J.T. Williams, co-founder of the organization. The money will go straight to the Red Party Foundation, which was formed earlier this year as a 501(c)(3) by Williams and Jared Pearce. Last week’s fundraiser was the first of several leading up to the annual Red Party in September benefiting the Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage. “I was pleasantly surprised at how well the underwear auction went,” Williams said. “James Deets and John Rieger were the big bidders, both bidding $200-plus for a pair of Candid Underwear that was worn at the time by BJ’s bartenders and dancers.” The Red Party Foundation’s website, at www.RedPartyDallas.com, is under construction by Clint Thomson of Celeratec, who is donating his services.

Photos by Chuck Dube/MarceloMedia

—  John Wright

Steven Weir (and Legacy Counseling) make the One Man Dallas cut as a semi-finalist

I just got a call from Melissa Grove, executive director of Legacy Counseling Center/Legacy Founders Cottage, letting me know that Legacy’s board chair, Steven Weir, has been chosen as one of 20 semi-finalists in the One Man Dallas competition, giving him the chance to win $5,000 to share with Legacy.

“We are the only AIDS organization and the gayest organization” to be chosen by a One Man Dallas semi-finalist, Grove said.

One Man Dallas, according to its website, is “a fun, social, and professional event that identifies the one man in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area who represents the best of Dallas from the perspectives of community involvement, personality, intelligence and fitness. One Man Dallas not only puts the spotlight on 20 guys doing great work in the community, but highlights 20 great community organizations.”

Each finalist is profiled on the website, and you can vote once a day each day through May 15 for your favorite. Online voting results will account for 25 percent of each finalist’s total score.

There will also be a series of happy hour “meet-and-greet” events to give the public a chance to meet each semi-finalist. The first will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, at Park Place Mercedes Benz, 6113 Lemmon Ave. Other times and locations are listed on the website.

The big finale is set for May 19, 7:30 p.m. at Gables Park 17, 1700 Cedar Springs Road in Uptown. That’s when the five finalists will be announced and then participate in a live competition involving fashion, pop culture trivia, informational interviews and more. The winner will be chosen by a panel of community leaders.

—  admin

Dallas Pride: Legacy Counseling Center turns 21

Not just any birthday

Legacy Counseling Center, perhaps Dallas’ most underappreciated HIV/AIDS service provider, celebrates its 21st birthday tonight with “Legacy is Legal,” its largest annual fundraiser. The event features silent and live auctions, entertainment and, of course, food. This is one Pride week event you’ll be extra-proud to be part of. Tickets are available online or at the door.

DEETS: Monica’s Aca y Alla, 2914 Main St. 7 p.m. $35. LegacyCounseling.org/upcoming-events

—  Rich Lopez