Daphne Myles is the Tarrant County AIDS Interfaith Network executive director. She has been with TCAIN since 1991, the same year the organization began. TCAIN is a nonprofit organization helping people with AIDS and HIV. To learn more visit www.tcain.org.
1 What is TCAIN and what does it offer the community?
TCAIN is one of the first nonprofit organizations in Fort Worth to provide assistance to persons affected by the AIDS epidemic. The agency formed from a group of concerned ministers responding to the needs of HIV patients and their families. At the time, few resources were available and most of society still had many questions about AIDS and the routes of transmission. TCAIN Care Teams go to the homes of persons dying with AIDS to provide non-professional physical care and assistance. Over the years, we’ve added additional programs to include a full service, no-fee dental clinic for persons with HIV/AIDS in Fort Worth and surrounding counties.
2 Are there pressing goals for 2008-09?
Financial issues are always a concern for small non-profits. Although TCAIN has five full-time and five part-time employees, the agency serves 600-plus clients per year.
3 What drives the organization’s commitment?
We are very fortunate to have a committed board of directors. Each member works very hard to support the agency through participation, fundraising and staff support. We could not begin to provide the level of services we do without our wonderful board.
4 Are volunteers important to the cause?
Critically so. The staff and budgets are too small to serve so many clients without volunteer impact. We have several groups and individuals donating their time to include office support, meal preparation for the support groups and home deliveries of medications and hot meals. Volunteers with limited time help maintain our Web site.
5 Is there a memorable story about a person helped through TCAIN?
A woman wandered into our agency in April 2007. She inquired about our services and said she wanted to "sign up." During the assessment she revealed that she had been in and out of rehabilitation centers over the past 10 years. She has a daughter that was in foster care living in Dallas. Her drug usage was the reason why she had become infected with the HIV virus. She had a college degree and had been a first-grade teacher. She said she wanted to get her life in order. Once we referred her to medical care her HIV status was now a confirmed AIDS. She never took medication when she received her initial diagnosis. She continued to use drugs instead of dealing with her HIV status. Once she received the medical attention, she did intensive drug treatment and is getting her life back on track.
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 2, 2008.