Wednesday, December 8, 2010

City Year Washington DC Shares HOPE

By Erica Obebe, Corps Member serving on the the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield HOPE Team

The startling statistic that, among people who have been tested, 1 in 20 are living with HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC is a daily motivation for me to serve. I proudly serve on the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield HIV/AIDS Outreach Prevention Education or HOPE team.
The CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield HOPE Team
The HOPE team presents a CDC-approved 8 to 10 hour module curriculum to middle and high school students in DC Public Schools. Our presentations provide engaging activities, videos, and demonstrations that without a doubt maintain the attention of students and enable them to make proud choices. Though this is our primary task, we also learn about the disparities that people living with HIV/AIDS face in Washington, DC through various opportunities. The HOPE team performs outreach after school several times per week by distributing safer sex kits, provides supporting services at HIV/AIDS advocacy and community building organizations and attends conferences focused on awareness of resources in the community. Additionally, the HOPE team facilitates conversations among adolescents around sexual health and relationships during Visionary Youth Becoming Empowered (VYBE) sessions in partnership with Metro Teen AIDS.

 On December 1, 2010 we particpated in the 23annual World AIDS Day. Each year the theme reflects an issue to be acknowledged concerning prevention of the growing epidemic; the theme of 2010 is “Universal Access and Human Rights”.

Last Friday in our own extention of World AIDS Day, The CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield HOPE Team hosted a Leadership Development day for the Corps, in order to educated our fellow Corps Members on HIV, how it is transmitted and how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

The day began with an interesting version of the "transmission game" where corps demonstrated the spread of HIV and other STIs through an activity where all participants signed and exchanged cards until music stopped playing to simulate how quickly the disease can spread. The HOPE Team then presented to the Corps on the importance of Testing and the HIV epidemic in DC, followed by some fun activities that helped to ensure everyones was aware of ways to protect themselves. During the lunch hour, free HIV testing was available and a bake sale which raised more than $200.00 for the hospice center Joseph’s House.

The day was brought to a close by a presentation from some very knowledgeable and exciting presenters including representatives from The Women’s Collective,  La Clinica del Pueblo and and Joseph’s House who shared creative methods to practice safe sex.

Overall, the day was huge success thanks to our exciting guests, generous sponsors, attentive audience and the diligent planning of the HOPE team!

No comments:

Post a Comment