Abounding Prosperity’s building on MLK, Jr. Boulevard. (David Taffet / Dallas Voice)
South Dallas agency is holding grand opening ceremonies for its expanded facilities Saturday
Tammye Nash | Managing editor
Abounding Prosperity Inc. will commemorate World AIDS Day 2018 on Saturday, Dec. 1, by holding a grand opening, beginning at 6 p.m., to celebrate its new, expanded services and facilities, located at 1705 Martin Luther King Blvd. Jr.
“AP Inc. is taking a giant leap forward and moving into facilities that will accommodate robust programming, from youth to senior citizens,” said the agency’s CEO, Kirk Myers.
Myers said that AP Inc. has been awarded two major new grants, and that the facilities on MLK Jr. Boulevard, which already housed Hope Clinic, were expanded to make room for the agency to operate new programs based on those grants. The grants also provided the funds allowing AP Inc. to create a new senior programs manager position, and hire Kenneth Johnson to fill that job.
Myers said that Johnson comes to AP Inc. “with a wealth of knowledge and experience in public health, domestically and globally.” He said Johnson has an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration from Albany State University, and a master’s in public administration in healthcare from Columbus State University. He has worked in HIV prevention, care and treatment in high-morbidity areas around the country.
AP Inc. has received a Minority AIDS Initiative grant, awarded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. This grant funds a five-year cooperative agreement to provide HIV prevention, mental health and substance abuse programs for youth ages 13-24 in Dallas.
Johnson said the expanded facilities on MLK will include a drop-in center for youth, called The Spot, a dance studio and a wellness space.
“We want to have as many options as we can to attract the youth, to make them want to come in and to help them cultivate the many different aspects of their talents,” he said. Many of the young LGBT people of color the center hopes to bring in are involved with the local ballroom community, he noted, and the center’s dance studio will give them a place to hone their skills at walking in the balls.
“We will offer testing for HIV and other STIs, job development programs, referrals to services — things like that,” Johnson said. “Basically, the idea is offer robust programming for the youth all in one spot for them to come to and find all the help they need.”
The second grant is for programming targeting the other end of the age spectrum. Gilead Sciences is funding the HIV and Aging grant that AP Inc. will use to improve care coordination, increase resources and educate the public on various policies affecting an aging HIV-positive population in Dallas County, Johnson explained
Gregg Alton, chief patient officer with Gilead Sciences, said, “Comprehensive programs for aging persons living with HIV are essential to reducing the co-morbidities they face, including those with limited access to quality healthcare.
“Through our continued partnership with Abounding Prosperity, we aim to have a long-term impact on the overall health and well-being of aging [persons living with HIV], as well as to increase their quality of life,” Alton added.
Johnson said, “HIV is now categorized as a chronic disease. People are living a lot longer with HIV. So we want to have a space for them; we want to have services for the people who are surviving with HIV. “
The expanded facility’s wellness studio will help by giving the population of aging individuals with HIV a place to participate in yoga and stretching classes, or to access massage therapy services, among other things, Johnson said.
He said that the new facilities are located in the same building where the Hope Clinic was already open, and that AP Inc. will continue working in partnership with the clinic to provide education, prevention, treatment, early intervention for HIV, PreP and “a wide array of other services.”
Thanks to funding through the two new grants, Myers said, “AP Inc. will be in a stronger position to impact economic development and job growth in South Dallas and the surrounding areas.” █