Resource Center honors volunteers

Leon Catlett receives top honor posthumously at annual dinner

LEGACY OF SERVICE | Carol Fisher accepts Resource Center Dallas’ 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award on Sunday, Jan. 29, on behalf of her son, Leon Catlett, who died last year. RCD Executive Director and CEO Cece Cox, left, and services manager Kee Holt presented Fisher with Catlett’s award during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Starlight Room in Dallas.

From Staff Reports
editor@dallasvoice.com

More than 1,090 people gave more than 49,100 hours of their time and talents valued at more than $1.05 million to Resource Center Dallas in 2011, allowing the center to make life better for thousands of North Texans.

The volunteers were honored at the center’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Party on Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Starlight Room in the Dallas West End.

Longtime volunteer Leon Catlett, who died last November, posthumously received the 2011 Martha Dealey Volunteer of the Year award.

“Leon’s vibrant presence volunteering for the center, from the front desk and nutrition center to events such as Toast To Life, was a comforting and consistent presence for our staff and clients,” said Cece Cox, RCD’s executive director and CEO. “We miss him terribly, but are comforted by and thankful for his legacy of service to the center.”

Resource Center Dallas also recognized the following:

• Michael Chau received the Randolph Terrell Community Service Award, given to a group or individual for exceptional service to the LGBT community and/or people living with HIV/AIDS;

• Miles Vinton was given the Suzanne Wilson Award, presented to the year’s most significant volunteer in Client Services;

• Jack Hancock received the John Thomas Award, in recognition as the Gay & Lesbian Community Center’s exceptional volunteer of the year;

• Dr. Jaime Vasquez was awarded the Bill Nelson Award honoring the Nelson-Tebedo Health Resource Center’s outstanding volunteer of the year; and,

• David Granger received the Bruce Long Award for outstanding development department volunteer.

The center also recognized 117 volunteers who contributed more than 100 hours during 2011. Miles Vinton, with 906 hours, was recognized for donating the most amount of time last year.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 3, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

On World AIDS Day: some HIV statistics

For World AIDS Day, here are some statistics gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and the Dallas County Department of Health about HIV/AIDS:

• Someone becomes infected with HIV every 9½ minutes.

• One in five people infected with HIV is unaware of it.

• Since 1981, more than 30 million people worldwide have died from the disease.

• Since 1981, more than 600,000 in the United States have died from the disease.

• 61,595 people in Texas are infected with HIV.

• Today, 34 million people worldwide have HIV/AIDS.

• Although African-Americans make up only about 12 percent of the U.S. population, they make up nearly half the people in the country who are living with HIV.

• Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans living with HIV do not have their infection under control.

• About 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV.

• Only 28 percent of those have a suppressed viral load.

• Of those living with HIV who are in ongoing care and on anti-retroviral treatment, 77 percent have suppressed levels of the virus.

• Only 51 percent of those with HIV in the United States receive ongoing medical care and treatment.

On Dec. 1, AIDS organizations from across Dallas County will gather at Main Street Garden at 7:30 p.m. for an AIDS remembrance.

—  David Taffet

Photographer Steven Hill holds toy drive Saturday

Steven D. Hill has children on the brain. As we noted when we profiled him this summer, the talented photographer and fashionista loves helping young people — as he did in an exhibit last August that benefited Vogel Alcove, an organization here in Dallas that provides vital services, material necessities, and developmental care to homeless children. Well, if children ever need someone looking after them, it’s during the holidays, so Hill is back with a toy drive that will deliver toys to kids served by Vogel Alcove, and also Kidscapes Foundation, which assists children living with HIV/AIDS and disadvantaged children struggling with obesity, through education, fitness and art.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, Hill’s Heads with Hearts foundation hosts a mixer (featuring savory bites, as well as desserts from the Cupcakery)  at the Downtown clothier Binzario from 7 to 9 p.m., and admission is just one unwrapped toy.

For more info, visit TheHeadswithHearts online.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Big changes ahead for ASOs

AIDS agencies have to look for ways to branch out if they want to survive and thrive under health care reform

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and 20 percent of them are not even aware of it, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And a CDC report released in early August suggests that there are about 50,000 new HIV infections each year.

And yet, federal funding for HIV/AIDS services have remained flat for the last five years — from funding for medical services to research dollars to money for support services — according to Raeline Nobles, executive director of AIDS Arms Inc.

And that means, Nobles and Resource Center Dallas Executive Director and CEO Cece Cox agreed this week, that the nonprofit, community-based organizations that have been the backbone have to look ahead and keep their options open to remain viable.

Changes in the way that federal funds through the Ryan White CARE Act are distributed — requiring that 75 cents of every Ryan White dollar be used for core medical services — give an edge to nonprofits that operate clinics. And that means that AIDS Arms, which just opened its second clinic last month — is “more competitive at the national, state and local levels,” Nobles said. “With the number of people who are uninsured and living at poverty levels, access to any kind of medical care is a priority. So if you are providing those kinds of services, it does give you an edge.”

Agencies that don’t provide those kinds of services, she added, can get in on that competitive edge by collaborating with those that do.

“There’s really no new money to sustain new agencies,” Nobles said. “AIDS is definitely off the docket in terms of diseases people seem to be concerned about. In fact, any HIV provider across the country who is not considering all their options is in a great deal of denial, and that may well come back to bite them rather severely.”

There’s also health care reform to consider, with several parts of the law passed in late 2010 still to be implemented. That reform, said Cox, is changing the face of community health clinics, like RCD’s Nelson-Tebedo Clinic, and HIV/AIDS service programs.

“Our nutrition program is a good example,” Cox said. “It has really been hammered in terms of federal funds, so we have focused on supporting the program through the community, foundations and corporations. … It is an amazing puzzle we have pieced together, even with cuts in traditional funding streams. But we have managed. We have done the things we felt we had to do.”

And there are more changes coming. Nobles said that if the Ryan White funds survive beyond 2013 when more health care reform measures go into effect, “it likely won’t include any money for outpatient services like we offer” at the Peabody Clinic and the new Trinity Clinic.

“So we have to take a look at what we do best, and we can use our model and globalize it into different areas. We have to become even more sustainable. Diversification of business is key to survival,” Nobles said. “It can’t just be about HIV and AIDS any more.”

Nobles said “serious discussion has been going on at AIDS Arms for at least two years, at the board and staff levels” about how the agency can expand its focus beyond HIV/AIDS and remain viable.

“We have to diversify our business plan. The situation has been serious for awhile and it is becoming even more serious for our board,” Nobles said. “We hope to have, by early 2012, a final business plan in place to move into the future.

“Health care reform is a great thing for a lot of people, but it poses real challenges for the nonprofit sector. You have to stay ahead of the curve, or health care reform will run right over you. We definitely want to stay ahead of that curve,” she continued. “The HIV nonprofit community has the best model of care and support the U.S. has ever seen. That model can be globalized to include care for other disease — heart disease, cancer, diabetes.”

Cox said that staff and board members at Resource Center Dallas also began planning for the changing future some time ago, and its current capital campaign to build a new facility is part of the plan.

“Nobody seems to have all the answers right now. The feds won’t say what they will and what they won’t fund. So savvy business people are already thinking, ‘If this funding goes away, what can we do instead?’” Cox said.

“Everybody feels like the challenge working in the nonprofit sector is that you are always aware there is so much more that needs to be done,” she added. “But doing more requires more space, more staff, more resources. And to have that, you have to build the business in a way that is sustainable. And you have to remember, nobody can do everything.”

Both Cox and Nobles are quick to remind that even though their agencies are “nonprofits,” they are businesses nonetheless, and have to be operated with an eye toward success.

“There has been, and probably still is, the mindset about nonprofits. People expect the nonprofits to be there to provide all these services without caring about costs,” Cox said. “But the fact is, nonprofit or not, these agencies have to be run like a business. You have to anticipate, plan ahead. You have to put the structures in place and you have to invest. We make large investments in our staff and in technology. For-profit business sell stock and they answer to their stockholders. We get our money from our donors, and we have an obligation to let our donors know what we do with their money and to let them know we use it responsibly.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

A Sister’s Gift honors volunteers

Brunch recognizes the efforts of women volunteering in HIV/AIDS community

Edwards.Cheryl

Cheryl Edwards

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Sheri Crandall serves dinner at Ewing House once a month, and has been for six years. She is one of 11 women who have volunteered their time to help those living with HIV/AIDS who will be honored at brunch this weekend sponsored by A Sister’s Gift Women’s Center.

A Sister’s Gift provides resources and support for women living with HIV/AIDS. Cheryl Edwards founded the organization in memory of her brother, Ronald Lewis, who died of AIDS in 1995.

A Sister’s Gift will recognize Crandall as “Volunteer — feeding with faith.”

Crandall said she was embarrassed to be honored for simply doing the right thing. When she joined Church of the Incarnation, an Episcopal church on McKinney Avenue in Uptown, people were already involved with the AIDS Services of

Dallas supper club. She’s taken the program to heart and over the years has become friendly with some of the residents.

“Some have been there the entire time,” she said. “Others transition in and out, and others pass away.”

Crandall said that some residents have special dietary needs and the group tries to keep that in mind in preparing a meal that is as healthy as possible. But, she said, if groups didn’t continue serving meals at the facility, some people wouldn’t eat.

Rosemarie Odom will be recognized as a community advocate.

Odom co-founded C.U.R.E., a Collin County-based group that uses panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in HIV education efforts. This week, C.U.R.E. members hung 18 panels at the Anatole Hotel for the Out & Equal conference.

Odom said that she and Roseann Rosetti started C.U.R.E. because the number of HIV cases were increasing and fewer people seemed to know about it.

“People forgot about what happened in the early ’80s or didn’t know about it,” she said, adding that many people who come to see the quilt panels have never seen the quilt before.

The group has had success displaying panels in Plano and Frisco public schools and starting a discussion about HIV, Odom said, noting that, “Everyone wants to take a picture with it and touch it.”

For World AIDS Day, Odom said C.U.R.E. is planning an event in downtown Dallas with AIDS Interfaith Network. They will display panels from the quilt at the brunch.

Gretchen Kelly will be recognized at the brunch as an HIV fundraiser and volunteer patient advocate. For more than 20 years, Kelly has helped raise funds for a variety of agencies including DIFFA, AIDS Services of North Texas, Legal Hospice of

Texas, AIDS Services Dallas and AIDS Interfaith Network.

But rather than talking about herself, Kelly said Edwards should be getting the award.

“She made a promise to her brother,” she said. “She’s worked really hard to make it work. She’s dedicated her life to it.”

Edwards founded A Sister’s Gift after her brother died of AIDS to provide resources and support for women living with HIV/AIDS.

Edwards said the idea for the brunch came several years ago when she was given an award and noticed that she was the only woman being recognized.

She remembered a woman who took care of her brother when her parents were out of town and she said she knew there had to be a lot of other women whose devotion to people with HIV were not being recognized.

“Women’s needs are different from men’s,” she said.

Edwards called one of the primary services provided by A sister’s Gift “navigational counseling.”

“After many women are diagnosed with HIV, most are clueless about where to go and what to do,” she said.
Edwards said the goal is to make sure women with HIV get medical care and stay on their regimen. They provide bus passes to make sure clients can get to doctors appointments.

More than 95 percent of A Sister’s Gift’s clients live below the poverty line. So when possible, they provide grocery assistance and utility assistance.

TOP Event Center, 1508 Cadiz St. Oct. 29 at 11:30 a.m.
$20 online at ASistersGift.org.
$25 at the door.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 28, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Need a condom? There’s an app for that

In perhaps one of the most innovative efforts to spread the idea of safe-sex and HIV prevention, MTV and iCondom have teamed up to create a worldwide map for condom distribution. The channel’s global youth HIV awareness and prevention campaign and charity Staying Alive has teamed with iCondom to “join them in their fight to help prevent the transmission of HIV by downloading the free iCondom app and providing details of their local condom dispenser / retailer.”

Georgia Arnold of MTV said, “An estimated 5 million 15-to-24-year olds are living with HIV and 2,500 young people are infected with HIV each day. We have partnered with iCondom with the ambition to make it easier for more people around the world to source condoms and reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs. A percentage of money made from the app will go towards Staying Alive Foundation grants which are awarded to young people working to prevent HIV in their local communities.”

Basically, you download the app for free and check to see where the closest condom dispenser location is. I have a guess ours is the 7-11 across the street, but I’m waiting for the app to download to see. It’s sort of like Grindr for rubbers and how many feet away they are. But then you can add to the map by entering in locations that might not already be on there. Simple, huh?

Although don’t be a d-bag about it. After loading the app, I see someone entered in the “location” title “Homeless Guy His Name is…” on Greenville Ave. I rated it one star for fail and responsibly entered the 7-11 store on Travis St.

Hey, I’m that kinda guy.

iCondom from mtv staying alive on Vimeo.

—  Rich Lopez

Axiom Sushi Lounge and AIDS Interfaith Network team up for one-day dining event

On Wednesdsay, Axiom Sushi Lounge will host Making One Meal Matter with AIDS Interfaith Network. From 7–10 p.m., 20 percent of guests’ food bills will go toward AIN’s 10 client-serving programs.

Travis Gasper, director of development at AIN, says, “Our clients are homeless or very low income and living with HIV/AIDS. Each meal matters to them.”

Additional donations will also be accepted throughout the night. So load up on your California Rolls and sashimi.

Axiom Sushi Lounge (formerly Fin Sushi Lounge), 4123 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. For reservations, call 214.443.3840 and mention “AIN fundraiser.”

—  Rich Lopez

HUD grants to help with housing for those with AIDS

President Barack Obama

HOPWA program will administer $9.1 million in competitive grants to develop, improve housing options

DANA RUDOLPH  |  Keen News Service
lisakeen@mac.com

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Monday, May 23 announced up to $9.1 million in grants to address the housing needs of people with low-incomes living with HIV/AIDS.

The competitive grants, offered through the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program, are intended for states and local communities to create more integrated strategies and partnerships between housing programs and other health and human services.

David Vos, director of HUD’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, said in a statement on the HUD website that the partnerships will help show “how to take holistic approaches to serving some of the nation’s most vulnerable, persons living with chronic health challenges and risks of homelessness.”

At the end of the three-year grants, HUD will evaluate and publish the results of grantees’ efforts in an Integrated HIV/AIDS Housing Plan. The IHHP will be an online resource to help communities “integrate the delivery of housing along with medical and other supportive services,” said Vos.

The grants and IHHP are intended to support both President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy and his Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

President Obama released a National HIV/AIDS Strategy in July 2010 with specific, measurable targets to be achieved by 2015. One of the strategy’s goals is to help people living with HIV “who have challenges meeting their basic needs, such as housing.”

The strategy says that “non-medical supportive services, such as housing, food, and transportation, are “critical elements of an effective HIV care system.”

The strategy calls for increasing from 434,000 to 455,800 the number of people receiving HIV-related services under the Ryan White Care Act who have permanent housing. The Ryan White Program, the largest federally funded program for people with AIDS, provides services for those who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources.

According to the strategy, “Individuals living with HIV who lack stable housing are more likely to delay HIV care, have poorer access to regular care, are less likely to receive optimal antiretroviral therapy, and are less likely to adhere to therapy.”

One 12-year study of people living with HIV in New York City, cited in the strategy, found that “housing assistance had a direct impact on improved medical care, regardless of demographics, drug use, health and mental health status, or receipt of other services.”

But HUD’s announcement comes only weeks after the U.S. House passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2012 that AIDS activists believe will diminish HIV programs and services.

The proposed budget, authored chiefly by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, calls for dramatic cuts in Medicaid, which provides health insurance coverage for people with low incomes.

And it calls for dramatic cuts in Medicare, which provides health insurance coverage for Americans 65 and older and for people with disabilities, including AIDS.

In a letter to members of the House in April, a large coalition of groups serving people with HIV had urged a “no” vote on the plan, saying it “will do irreparable harm to people living with HIV disease as well as those at risk for HIV infection.”

In addition to addressing the housing needs of people living with AIDS, HUD has also taken several significant steps towards addressing housing discrimination in the LGBT community.

It has issued proposed new regulations intended to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in its core housing programs.

It also clarified that, although the Fair Housing Act — a pivotal civil rights act that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status, does not specifically cover sexual orientation- or gender identity-based discrimination, it may still provide them with protection in other ways.

For example, discrimination against a gay man because of fear he will spread HIV/AIDS may constitute illegal discrimination on the basis of a perceived disability, HIV/AIDS.
HUD has also instructed staff to inform individuals about state and local LGBT protections that may apply to them. And HUD has told all its grant applicants they must comply with such laws, where they exist.

Applications for the new grants should be submitted at grants.gov by Aug. 2. Winners are expected to be announced by Sept. 20.

© 2011 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

—  John Wright

Cheer we go!

IMG_0236
DANCING IN THE STREETS | Dallas Pride Cheer marches in last year’s Texas Freedom Parade, but will debut a new act at Razzle Dazzle, before moving to a national showcase in San Francisco next month. (Gregory Hayes/Dallas Voice)

Dallas Pride Cheer gets its razzle dazzling — for Dallas and San Francisco

JEF TINGLEY  | Contributing Writer
jeftingley@sbcglobal.net

As anyone who’s ever played a team sport can tell you, even the bleakest of losing streaks has been brightened by the erratic pom-poms and endless effervescence of a cheerleading squad. But the perkiest of cheerleaders still needs their own support system from time to time.

That’s the case with Dallas Pride Cheer, a local, mostly gay group who use their powers of pep not for sports but by performing at parades and other events to raise money for charitable causes, including Make-A-Wish, Bryan’s House and AIDS Arms.

On June 25 and 26, the all-volunteer squad will boost not a team, but our city by taking their talents to San Francisco for Pride Parade weekend. There, they will join other teams from around the world for a series of performances benefiting the Cheer for Life Foundation, a
nonprofit that supports agencies around the globe that provide services to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other ailments.

“We currently have 14 people from our 24-person squad going to represent Dallas,” says team captain Bobby Bridgwater, a former UNT cheerleader who parlayed his love of the sport into the nonprofit organization. “Everyone’s been working very hard to create the perfect routine and to raise money to travel to California.”

To help fund travel expenses, Dallas Pride Cheer is hosting a car wash on Saturday in the Caven parking lot, behind Zini’s Pizza Throckmorton.

In preparation for San Francisco and the many other local events they participate in, the group practices every Sunday at Pride All-Star Gym in Carrollton. Members range in age from 20 to 51, with a variety of backgrounds as current and former cheerleaders, athletes and coaches. And they are always looking for more.

“We are always looking for new talent to add to our group,” says Bridgwater. “Depending on the person’s experience we can plug [someone] into a routine. It’s best if we find someone with knowledge of technique, tumbling and stunting. As a group, we are always pushing new stunts, new basket tosses and so on. It’s a whole year of learning as a group.”

The routine Dallas Cheer Pride performs in San Francisco will be repeated in Dallas in September during the Alan Ross Freedom Parade. But those interested in seeing the squad sooner can check them out during this year’s Razzle Dazzle Dallas, which kicks off June 1.

“Razzle Dazzle is what we have been putting together for the past year,” says Bridgwater. “In addition to our cheer portion is a new, fun dance routine. You won’t see it anywhere else. It’s just something for us to shake it and have fun.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 27, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

LOCAL BRIEFS: AIDS Candlelight Memorial set, Butch Voices seeking submissions

AIDS Candlelight Memorial set

The 28th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial will be held May 15 at 4 p.m. at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 1819 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Started in 1983, the International Memorial is one of the oldest grassroots AIDS awareness campaigns and is held the third Sunday in May. More than 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries host local memorials to remember those lost to HIV as well as to raise awareness.

Three people will share their stories of living with HIV including a 15-year-old young woman. At the end of the service will be a candlelight dedication to remember those lost, celebrate those living with HIV and those not infected.

Cornerstone Baptist Church does work with the homeless, people with addictions and provides assistance to those with HIV.

Free forum on redistricting set

Dr. Ruth Morgan, former provost of Southern Methodist University and author of Governance by Decree, will be the keynote speaker at a free public forum on redistricting, “Why Does It Matter,” Tuesday, May 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center for Community Cooperation, Oak Corner, 2900 Live Oak St. in Dallas.

Other panelists include former League of Women Voters-Dallas president Libbie Terrell Lee and LULAC 4871 President Jesse Garcia.

Although admission is free, advanced reservations are required, and can be made online at NCJWDallas.org or by email at info@ncjdwdallas.org.

The event is sponsored by League of Women Voters chapters in Dallas, Irving, Plano/Collin County and Richardson, the National Council of Jewish Women’s Greater Dallas Section, Women’s Council of Dallas County, Delta Sigma Theta Dallas Alumnae, the Health and Human Services Coalition, LINKS Inc.’s Dallas Chapter, LULAC 4871 and the Dallas Branch of the NAACP.

Butch Voices seeking submissions

Butch Voices, a grassroots organization dedicated to of all womyn, female-bodied, and trans-identified individuals who are “masculine of center” and their allies, is now accepting submissions for workshops, performances, presentations, skill shares, photography/visual art and video presentations for the second national Butch Voices Conference, being held Aug. 18-21 at the Oakland City Center Marriott in Oakland, Calif.

Submission deadline is June 1. Early registration has begun and is $100 for regular attendees, $125 for VIP access and $50 for students. Volunteers can also register online and are needed in all areas of the conference.

For more information, to volunteer or to register go online to ButchVoices.com.

—  John Wright