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by Kelly A. McCann
AIDS Walk Houston turns 21 years old this month. She’s come of age, and with age comes responsibility. That’s why this year’s AIDS Walk is going green.
We at AIDS Foundation Houston—the organization that creates and executes the event each year—are encouraging everyone to solicit donations online, thus reducing the need for cash envelopes, checks, and the like. In addition, we have made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of printed materials we use for this year’s walk. A greener walk is just one of the changes we at AFH are making this year to be kinder to the environment while still delivering life-enhancing services to our clients.
Our 21-year-old AIDS Walk Houston is not just environmentally conscious, she’s socially conscious as well. That’s why for the past several years, we at AFH have allowed other AIDS service providers to raise money for their programs through our fundraiser, AIDS Walk Houston.
In the not-for-profit world, such a move is really unusual. Think about it: does Susan G. Komen allow local breast-cancer organizations to raise money through their walk? Does any organization other than the National Multiple Sclerosis Society raise funds through the MS 150? The answer to both questions is No.
Our AIDS Walk is just one more thing that makes Houston unique. Most of the other AIDS service providers in our community embody the spirit of collaboration. We work together to make our city better and our citizens healthier. We at AFH embrace such partnership and we demonstrate it through our AIDS Walk every year.
The event, and the money and awareness raised through it, are vitally important to many agencies within our HIV community. Please support this year’s AIDS Walk Houston by making a financial contribution to AFH or one of the other 16 benefiting organizations below:
• AIDS Foundation Houston provides testing and prevention interventions to reduce the spread of HIV as well as a broad array of supportive services for those living with HIV/AIDS including: housing and homeless prevention programs, rent/mortgage/utility assistance, Stone Soup Food Assistance Program, Camp Hope, Teen Leadership Forum, and many others.
• Baylor College of Medicine Teen Health Clinic offers community-oriented primary and reproductive care to adolescent males and females, 13–22 years of age.
• Bering Omega Community Services exists to nurture the well-being and meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of persons affected by HIV/AIDS through compassionate health care and social services. 713/529-6071
• Brazos Abiertos, Inc. is a Texas-based organization dedicated to empowering the people of Yucatan, Mexico, to respond to AIDS; our vision is to be the catalyst for change where knowledge, prevention, and treatment of AIDS replaces fear, discrimination, prejudice, and death for those infected. 832/722-6191
• Bread of Life, Inc. is now a low-impact emergency shelter providing services to those most in need of safety, love, and compassion through an array of social services. 713/650-0595
• Brentwood Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to providing education and supportive services to people with HIV/AIDS. 713/852-1451
• The Center for AIDS Information and Advocacy empowers people living with HIV to make informed decisions about their health care by providing the latest research and treatment information and by advocating for accessible, affordable, and effective treatment options until there’s a cure. 713/527-8219
• FLAS, Inc. is dedicated to providing and creating positive social impact through advocacy, innovative and acculturated prevention of HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and other health issues. 713/772-2366
• Houston Buyers Club works to improve the quality of life for people with health-related conditions through nutritional education and affordable supplements. 713/520-5288
• Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, Inc.’s AIDS Project provides legal representation in civil matters to persons living with HIV/AIDS. 713/228-0735
• Lazarus House, a nonprofit organization, provides a low-cost program of wellness in a comfortable environment to clients suffering from muscle loss due to a chronic illness. 713/526-5071
• Legacy Community Health Services empowers its clients to lead a better life by providing premium, compassionate, primary health-care services. Legacy is committed to serving a diverse community including those persons who have traditionally faced problems accessing quality health care. 713/830-3000
• LIVE Consortium is comprised of diverse members of the Houston community who have united to provide HIV and anti-stigma education, support, research, and advocacy so that all people, regardless of status, can have the opportunity to live healthy and full lives. 713/252-7348
• Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, Inc. provides health care, testing, information, and education so that people can make informed decisions to live and love the way that is best for them. 713/522-6363.
• Resurrection MCC maintains an HIV/AIDS Benevolence Fund that assists those affected by HIV/AIDS. 713/861-9149
• SNAP Animal Aid Program provides veterinary assistance for the companion animals of people affected by HIV/AIDS. 713/862-3863
• The Department of Allergy and Immunology at Texas Children’s Hospital provides testing, treatment, clinical trials and social services to children, adolescents, and pregnant women living in Houston and surrounding cities. 832/824-1319
Join 10,000 of your friends and neighbors for the 21st AIDS Walk Houston on Sunday, March 14, at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston. Registration starts at 8 a.m., opening ceremonies kick off at 9 a.m., and the walk begins at 10 a.m. To donate to AIDS Foundation Houston or another team, visit AIDSWalkHouston.org.
Show your support of those living with HIV/AIDS and help us put an end to this disease. It’s the responsible thing to do.
Kelly McCann is the CEO of AIDS Foundation Houston. Read her blog at mccannicalmusings