Community Outreach & Education
BP Spotlight: Highlighting Programs and Services of Body Positive
A new year began with a new staff in the Department of Community Outreach and Education at Body Positive. The department's goals are to provide HIV information, skills and support to communities in the five boroughs.
First, Some Introductions . . .As Director of Community Outreach & Education, I would like to introduce myself, Laurie Cullen, and the new Coordinator Diana Marrero. The department includes ten peer educators: Yolanda, Colleen, Luz, Mechelle, Patricia, Gary, Joanne, Felicia, Olver and Harry.
I am ecstatic to be apart of the Body Positive team. My hope is to incorporate my life experiences and my educational background into this department. While living in Manhattan during the early 1980s and 1990s, I experienced the beginning of the AIDS epidemic first hand and have since volunteered and worked in the field of HIV/AIDS. Diana Marrero, coordinator of outreach and education, has been working in the HIV Care Network Community since 1996.
Peer EducationThe Department of Community Outreach and Education includes ten peer educators. This team is made up of individuals who are dedicated to educating people like themselves on HIV information. The peer educators go out into the community and in their unique way provide materials, education, referrals and support. They receive extensive training and updates on a range of issues related to HIV.
The peers incorporate what they learn in their training into presentations and workshops. They are skilled and dynamic in how they present the material. They answer questions and give support to an array of groups. The team participates in outreach at conferences, health fairs and general street approaches, where they distribute HIV educational material in many communities and refer individuals at risk of HIV infection to local HIV test sites. We also facilitate both large and small groups in rehabilitation centers, prisons, shelters and other agencies.
Upcoming DevelopmentsOur future plans include a highlight of the peer educators and their experiences at Body Positive. We are encouraging the peers to be creative in their presentation styles. The peer educators are an energized group of people. They spend time in the community, interacting with high-risk populations. In addition, we are expanding our outreach and education efforts into northern Manhattan. The department is focusing on women in the Inwood, Washington Heights, and Marble Hill area.
Back to the May 2001 Issue of Body Positive Magazine.
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.