California: Former Bakery Building Being Transformed Into Center for People Battling HIV and AIDS
February 21, 2008
This spring, the HIV/AIDS nonprofit Vital Life Services will move its headquarters from Oakland's Shattuck Avenue to the building once occupied by Your Black Muslim Bakery on San Pablo Avenue. VLS served between 400 and 600 clients last year. The new location will provide the organization more room to offer counseling, social services referrals, meals, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and other essential services to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Kurt Zimmerman of R.N. Field Construction said the goal of the renovation is to create a warm, inviting space where VLS clients feel safe and welcome. VLS staff offices and meeting rooms will not detract from open feel of the living room where people can gather, he said. The parking lot behind the former bakery will be transformed into a park-like backyard, he said. An 11-foot-long butcher's block from the bakery has been converted into a conference table.
Zimmerman said his company did not want to erase the history of the bakery but rather to focus on its original mission of serving and empowering the black community. "We feel the building has life," he said, adding that VLS can carry forth a mission to help the most vulnerable.
02.16.2008; Cecily Burt
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.