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NOV02

Celebrating the Legacy of AmeriCorps

This summer, the AIDS United AmeriCorps program drew to a close after 22 years. Over the years, the program trained and placed over 800 AmeriCorps Members in HIV-focused community-based organizations, where they gained frontline experience in the fight against HIV. I consider myself fortunate to have been one of these Members.

My experience in the AIDS United AmeriCorps program was formative. In addition to developing my understanding of the HIV epidemic and its surrounding stigmas and disparities, the program was the start of my career in public health and the beginning of lifelong friendships. More recently, as the manager of this program, I had the privilege to meet and learn from dozens of passionate people united to make a difference in the HIV epidemic.

The legacy of the AIDS United AmeriCorps program demonstrates that anyone can make change. Seemingly small actions like taking extra the time during a counseling session to answer questions, organizing a community cleanup, or simply lending an ear can have a profound effect on both AmeriCorps members and the people and community they serve. Multiply this by almost one thousand members over 20+ years and these individual actions have created a movement.

A look back at what has been accomplished is monumental. In 20+ years over 800 members:
  • served over 1.4 million service hours,
  • conducted over 100,000 HIV tests, and
  • reached almost 500,000 people through education and outreach.

Each number represents a life changed. It’s people seeking HIV treatment for the first time, learning their HIV status, or being linked to supportive services.

Even after they complete their service, a majority of program alumni work in community-based organizations, medicine, and social services agencies. Many, specifically work in HIV. Their contributions to the fight against HIV are critical. We have the tools to end the epidemic, but it will take persistent work to counter the stigma and disparities that fuel this epidemic. Knowing there is a cohort of AmeriCorps alumni engaged in the movement makes me hopeful that we will get there.

Check out AmeriCorps: 20 Years of Excellence to learn more about the legacy of the AIDS United AmeriCorps Program!




Posted By: Sarah Hashmall, Communications Manager, AIDS United - Wednesday, November 02, 2016



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