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positive focus Winter 2011

Serving Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Tioga & Tompkins Counties

Cause for Celebration Mother Nature tried to foil our plans with a winter storm, but the annual Cause for Celebration went on with over 150 individuals in attendance. Elizabeth Bixler, Java Joe’s Café and PETCO were recognized for their contribution of time and resources to move the mission of the Southern Tier AIDS Program forward, to raise awareness of HIV in our community and to assure that quality services for persons living with HIV are available. Please feel free to patronize and thank our community partners for their generous commitment.

Elizabeth Bixler Elizabeth Bixler personifies the idea that one should “Think Globally, Bike Locally. “ Elizabeth Bixler thought about doing the AIDS Ride for Life for many years and then one year discovered that she could do it and has now ridden in the Ride for the past 6 years! Although her fundraising minimum has been between $300 and $500, she has averaged more than 10 times that amount each

year! When Elizabeth first began fund raising for the AIDS Ride, she began by hand writing 150 letters asking for donations. Although she now uses a typewritten letter, she personalizes them and makes sure to talk about AIDS as a global epidemic while plugging in NY State statistics to bring home the message of what STAP does. We honor Elizabeth, for thinking globally and biking locally, and by extension, for contributing to the Southern Tier AIDS Program’s ability to prevent new HIV infections and care for people who are HIV positive. continued on page 5

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from the director...


s the economic picture became grimmer last year and governmental entities cut and cut budgets again, I began to think about the work we do here at STAP and the ways in which we provide value to our community as a nonprofit. I know that nonprofits are sometimes viewed by those unfamiliar with our inner workings as a drain on the taxpayer and community resources. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, STAP contributes quite measurably to growing the local economy, and in a time of shrinking resources, it would be prudent to tout our value not just in terms of humanity, but in dollars and cents as well. Ten percent of the workforce in this country is employed in the nonprofit sector. Over 50 of those people work for STAP and every two weeks when they are paid they stimulate the economy. They buy groceries, gas, pay rent or a mortgage, go out to eat, buy toys for their children, take their pet to the vet, make a car payment or take the car to a local garage for repairs. STAP like any organization must purchase office equipment and supplies, which we make a point of doing locally. STAP pays rent to a landlord, has utility bills, phone & cell phone services, an internet provider and someone to plow the lot when it snows. All these businesses survive in part, because of tax money returned to them via STAP. STAP’s housing programs spend $150,000 annually on direct payments to landlords, utility companies, movers and storage facilities on behalf of clients, all local. Purchases made to meet the needs of clients and their

families are made at local businesses to the greatest extent possible. Half of STAP’s 3 million dollar budget comes from New York State. We leverage the state’s 1.5 million to bring in another 1.5 million from other sources that is spent locally as noted above. STAP’s case management and treatment adherence programs save taxpayer funded health care dollars by keeping HIV+ people healthy and out of hospitals & emergency rooms. Community based care is always less expensive than inpatient treatment. Helping HIV+ people to see a physician and take their medications regularly can result in a low viral load, making it less likely that HIV can be transmitted. Prevention saves money by keeping the number of HIV infections down. HIV is an expensive disease to treat and strikes young people in their prime earning years, thus depleting the public coffers for both treatment and lost revenue when people are disabled and cannot work & pay taxes. I happen to believe that providing care to people who are ill is the right and humane thing to do as do most of you reading this, but it is nice to know that it is also the economically wise decision. Our area would be poorer without STAP, not only because of the human suffering that would occur, but in a tangible measurable dollars and cents way. Let us hope that those who will be deciding STAP’s fate this year will not be “penny wise and pound foolish”.

John Barry, Executive Director 4

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volunteer page update 1 (cont) ADMINISTRATION

John Barry, Executive Director Julie Kerr, Director of Finance Mary Kaminsky, Director of Development Joseph Caminiti, Director of Information Systems Jackie Centerwall, Director of Operations Kim Conrad, Special Events Coordinator Candace Phelan, Volunteer Coordinator Anne Baron, Fiscal Assistant Kristina Hagen, IS and CS Assistant Ginny Miller, Program Assistant Nancy Bosworth, Executive Assistant Katrina Roehrig, Administrative/HR Assistant


Gayle Pado, Director of Client Services Wendy Hitchcock, Assistant Director Stacy Nickerson, Assistant Director Kelly Conroy, Medical Advocacy Coordinator Loren Couch, Housing Coordinator Teresa Wage-Harrington, Housing Referral & Placement Specialist Todd Latzko, Community Follow-up Worker Cassandra Aikman, Case Manager Jennifer McKenzie, Case Manager Jean Wilson, Case Manager Gry Bente Johansen, Case Manager Lyndsay Grinberg, Case Manager Stacie Kuettel, Case Manager Terri Shields, Case Manager Juan Rios, Case Management Technician Elke Meyer, Case Management Technician Beth Pittman, Case Management Technician


Michele McElroy , Director of Prevention Services Joe Barnett, Asst Director & Senior Educator Lillian Fan, Harm Reduction Educator Desiree Argentina, Harm Reduction Educator Saleem Diaz, Substance Use Educator Emily Cowan, Substance Use Educator Hannah Weiss, Syringe Exchange Technician Ethan Lewis, MPowerment Coordinator Noah Cooper, Mpowerment Assistant Lawrence Parham, Asst Dir, Project VIIBES Coordinator Leah Compos, AmeriCorp Member Chalanda Graham, Project VIIBES Educator Kernalia Andrews, Womens’ Services Educator Cathy Sostre, Womens’ Services Coordinator Renee Whitaker, COC Educator Jeff Dunlap, LGBT Youth Educator Erin Gotthardt, Asst Director, LGBT Program Coordinator Jeffrey Pryor, Prison Re-Entry Coordinator Cathy Carpenter, Prison Re-Entry Assistant

REGIONAL TRAINING CENTER Carrie Juraska, Regional Training Grant Assistant


Paul Rushanski, President Tina Ruocco Dolan, Vice President Grant Best, Treasurer Michele Duffy, Secretary Ralph Klotzbaugh, Michael Grasso, Angelo Fiori, K. Bulkeley, Nancy McGowan, Pamela Mischen, Jamie Cornell, Joshua Ludzki, Larry Bailey, Helen Higgenbotham

Java Joe’s Café

Although we may feel like we are up at the crack of dawn as we begin to set up for the AIDS Walk/Run or the Doggone Fun on the Run, there is someone who is up earlier. Tina Kuenzli, owner of Java Joe’s, is wide awake and baking. When our set-up crew arrives, hot coffee and steaming delicious muffins are there waiting for them. It is not only a great way to start the day, but it is what keeps the set-up crew coming back year after year. Around the Café you will find our posters, postcards, flyers, World AIDS Day display, and even coupons for sale to benefit Robbie’s Pantry. Java Joe’s has hosted our volunteer recognition party as well as a fabulous purse party to benefit the AIDS Walk/Run. We thank Tina and her entire staff for all the delicious muffins, coffee, donations of gift cards, and for providing STAP clients and volunteers with some of the best lunches ever!


PETCO is committed to providing a safe, healthy and humane environment for companion animals, and it all starts with the people who work there. Kellie, Paula, Rebecca and Mary are some of the most passionate, dedicated animal–lovers you will ever meet. They understand the importance and the health benefits of pet ownership for our clients. With their support the PAWS (Pets are Wonderful Support) program at STAP is serving its highest caseload ever. PETCO/PETCO FOUNDATION has been the presenting sponsor of the Doggone Fun on the Run for the past two years. Throughout the year they donate food, toys, beds and all sorts of other pet items to the program. They not only support the PAWS program and the Doggone Fun on the Run event, but they are the ones who make it happen. They serve on the walk committee and provide training to our volunteers. Last year the raffle table at the walk raised enough money to keep 2 clients on the PAWS program for an entire year, the majority of items on the raffle table where donated by PETCO. Through their adoption efforts with the PETCO Foundation, they find new homes for more than 200,000 homeless pets every year. They truly are a dogs best friend and we are so grateful for all their support!

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life mastery workshop INFORMATION HOTLINES National




Hearing Impaired


Teen Line

Hot 800-440-TEEN

New York State



n the weekend of March 1113, two facilitators from Albany and one from Houston, TX met with eight people from Southern Tier Aids Program. We gathered at The Cube in Binghamton to kick off a weekend of sharing, introspection, and life skill teaching called The Mastery (or The AIDS Mastery Workshop as it is commonly known). I did my first Mastery in Oneonta over a year ago and have participated in 3 others since then. I have to say, I was a little cynical about another training about HIV. Rather than a “training” so to speak, what I found was a weekend dedicated to sharing our experiences, being “real” with one another and emotional healing. HIV/AIDS has been part of my life for 6 years. I consider myself to be a “blessed man” as I contracted the virus at a time when there are many options for treatment. The medications available today will enable me to fulfill my potential and continue to live my dreams. Not everyone is so lucky, I’ve lost 2 friends to the virus this year alone and both were under the age of 45. The Mastery provides me with a chance to share, time to cry, and an opportunity to share knowing everyone in the room knows exactly where I’m at. Healing can come in many ways, but one of the ways I have experienced it is the Mastery Workshop. It was a great weekend! Erik vonHausen

“The quality of someone’s life is not decided by longevity or circumstance or duration. The Mastery attempts to help people discover what ‘quality’ means in their life.” ~Ed Kubler, Mastery Facilitator & The Mastery Manual


800-541-AIDS 800-333-0892

HIV TESTING SITES Broome County Health Department 607-778-2839 Chemung County Health Department 607-737-2028 Southern Tier AIDS Program (STAP) 800-333-0892 Chenango Memorial Hospital 607-335-4111 Jacobus Center-Cortland 607-753-5027 Planned Parenthood Binghamton 607-723-8306 Planned Parenthood Oneonta 607-432-2250 Planned Parenthood Sidney 607-563-4363 Planned Parenthood Walton 607-865-6579 Oneonta Health Center 607-433-0042 Tioga County Health Department 607-687-8600 Tioga Opportunities, Inc. 607-687-5333 Tompkins County Health Department 800-562-9423

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volunteer volunteerupdate corner

did you know?

Did you know... volunteering leads to greater life satisfaction and lower rates of depression? Did you know... that volunteering and physical well-being are parts of a positive reinforcing cycle? Did you know... individuals who volunteer live longer? Did you know... evidence suggests the possiblity that the best way to prevent poor health in the future, which could be a barrier to volunteering, is to volunteer? Did you know... State volunteer rates are strongly connected with the physical health of the state’s population?

Well, it’s that time of year when we start to venture out into our communities and look around for something to do. You might be thinking, “How may I help the Southern Tier AIDS Program?” Your answer is to sign up as a volunteer. The AIDS Walk/Run 2011 scheduled for April 30th at Recreation Park in Binghamton, is looking for Teams to raise money and walk; people to raise money and run; and others to work at the event that day. The AIDS Ride for LIFE scheduled for September 10, 2011 in Ithaca will need people to raise money, ride, and help at the pit stops throughout the day. Let’s not forget the day-to-day operations of our Prevention, Education, and Development staff who utilize volunteers regularly. Did I mention that Volunteers have an enormous amount of fun to go along with all the good work they do? If you would like to sign up to volunteer, please contact: Candace Phelan 607.798.1706

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3/16/11 9:59:33 AM

what’s new

Michelle McElroy Greetings! My name is Michelle McElroy and I have assumed Jeffrey Wynnyk’s position as the Director of Prevention Services at Southern Tier AIDS Program. I am very excited to have been chosen for this position. Moreover, I am truly pleased to have the opportunity to support the prevention services staff, as they continue to do cutting-edge work in the eight counties that STAP serves. I love the work that STAP does in the community and truly believe in the possibility of creating healthy change one person at a time. I have been employed at STAP for nearly five years now and plan to be around for many more. I started with the agency as a case manager, served as the Medical Advocacy Coordinator and, most recently, as an Assistant Director of Client Services. My background includes experience in education, case management, mental health, cooccurring disorders, as well as secondary prevention education and behavior change with HIV+ individuals. I hope to guide and assist my staff in the agency’s continuing mission to prevent HIV and Hepatitis C transmissions, while spreading prevention messages to the largest cross section of our communities.

STAP Spring, 2011 Regional Training Center Calendar All trainings offer OASAS Continuing Education Credits. For complete training descriptions:



‘Improving Health Outcomes For Hiv-Positive Individuals Transitioning From Correctional Facilities’ (9am-4:30pm) 1day, Friday, @ STAP Trainers: J. Barnett


‘Building Bridges To Cultural Competency’ (Re-scheduled from 3/24), (9-4:30) 1 day, Thursday, @ STAP Trainers: L. Parham & L. Fan


4/21 & 4/22 ‘Sex, Gender, & HIV’ (Re-scheduled from 4/28 & 4/29), 9am-4:30pm (2 days), Thurs/Fri, @ (STAP) Trainers: E. Gotthardt & E. Lewis REGISTRATION & INFORMATION: Telephone: 607-798-1706 | Fax: 607-798-1977 | email: Southern Tier AIDS Program , 122 Baldwin Street, Johnson City, NY 13790 8

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volunteer comingupdate events


  

  

   

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3/16/11 9:59:51 AM

in memory~

Mitchell Harris I will miss Mitchell Harris. He was a shining light in my world and a light in the lives of most who knew him. I will miss the way he always managed to be the best-dressed person in the room, and how his clothes fit his slender frame with perfection. Our name for Mitch at the Albany PPG meetings was “Smooth” and smooth he was. The fact that Mitch was a small man in size never stopped him from seeking to work his charm on every woman he met. I will miss the way he would mix street language and professional terminology together as if they naturally belonged side-by-side in what I termed, “Mitch Talk.” I never knew what the term “this, that, and a third” meant, but when he said it, it always felt just right. The thing I will miss most about Mitch is seeing his face or hearing his voice - usually at the most unexpected times and places - and the hours we spent on our trips back from Albany discussing how he could best serve his community or use his speaking skills. Mitch was really big on doing service for others or just trying to help. When he died, STAP and SEP clients and employees wanted to help anyway they could. They all spoke of how caring Mitch was and how he had touched their lives. In his youth, Mitch had lived a life harder that most of us could ever imagine; he carried the scars of that life deep inside and seldom let others see the pain that created those scars or hear the stories that came with them. 10

He saved those stories for speaking engagements and only showed his scars to those he felt could benefit from them, and perhaps preventing them from repeating his mistakes. In so many ways he was a giant of a man. He was my friend, a confidant, a colleague, a light that will shine in my life and many, many others forever. I miss Mitchell Harris. We all do. Lawrence Parham, Asst Dir. Project VIIBES Coordinator Death is a part of the work that we do here at STAP. We do our best to forestall it and to keep it away from those we work for, but ultimately, we fail. 2010 saw the passing of our colleague and friend Mitchell Harris at the too young age of 54. His candor, sense of humor and genuine zest for life will be sorely missed by all of us here at STAP. Mitchell was a giant of a man trapped in a deceptively small package. He regularly overcame those who underestimated his abilities and his resolve. I had the pleasure of speaking to his friends and family at his service and was amazed all over again, by the number of people Mitch touched and positively impacted. We feel his loss deeply here at STAP and will do our best to honor his memory and legacy through this great work we do. John Barry, LMSW, Executive Director

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­­2010 World AIDS Day Event STAP’s annual World AIDS Day Event held on December 3rd at Roberson Museum and Science Center was another big success! Along with the jewelry sale, and Binghamton University African Drum/Dance ensemble Nukporfe led by Dr. James Burns, this year we added a display of athletes affected with HIV over the years and an art sale by West African artist Peter Mwangi. We also debuted “Brian’s Story” a short documentary film produced by Jared Bosket and profiling one man’s journey with HIV.

year’s money to provide meals and school uniforms and fee assistance to HIV/AIDS orphans. STAP would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for making our annual World AIDS Day event/fundraiser such an enjoyable evening: Roberson Museum and Science Center, Jason Fiume, Jared Bosket, Nukporfe Drum/Dance Ensemble, Dr. James Burns, Michael Grasso, Tina Barber, Leah Campos, Larry Parham, Anthony Barber, Karen Armstrong, Greta Immermann, Vrian Wieder, Javier and Candace Phelan.

We raised $1,800 for our sister agency, Jifahamu Kenya Foundation and they plan on using this

Thank you for your continued support and we’ll see you again in December!

Why Facebook Should Have A Love Button! We have created a Facebook page for the Southern Tier AIDS Program. Be the first to find out who won STAP’s Rock Star Celebrity Bartending Bash and the name of their drink? Who was crowned Queen? Want to see all the photos? It takes less than 3 seconds and could win you an IPod Touch? Like us on Facebook today.

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client focus

Putting Clients First Even with a changing economy, shrinking state budgets, and cuts to funding throughout the country, the Southern Tier AIDS Program continues the longstanding tradition of putting clients first. STAP has continued to provide social support opportunities to HIV+ clients throughout the years including dinners, train rides, conferences, awareness events and retreats using A combination of grant funded and fundraised dollars, along with countless volunteer hours and staff contributions. One festive example of these events was STAP’s 10th Annual Client Holiday Dinner on November 9, 2010. STAP hosted over 150 clients, family members, staff, Identity youth and volunteers at Trinity Memorial Church in Binghamton, NY. This years dinner included 15 delicious turkeys and 18 pounds of ham purchased from Phils Chicken House. Staff donated all of the food, time and talent to create the rest of the scrumptious meal including white potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade stuffing, corn, cranberries, pies and sugar free desserts. There was also Live entertainment featuring the Dance Stories, the resident

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dance company of Endicott Performing Arts Center (EPAC), and vocalist Missy Harris who performs in many of the area community theaters and in NYC. There were also prizes and giveaways, including handmade winter wearables, gift cards, jewelry and event tickets. The event was enjoyed by all in attendance and has become an event many look forward to all year. The holidays are a very special time of year. STAP staff work with local agencies and businesses to offer an Adopt-A-Family program to low-income HIV+ clients with children, as well as a Holiday Cheer Outreach program for singles and shut-ins with no resources or support around the holidays. This past year the Adopt-A-Family program assisted 126 individuals with spreading holiday sheer, and worked with two amazing community groups to provide “A Once in a Lifetime Holiday Celebration.” STAP would like to send a very special “Thank You” to Deacon Richard Schaal and the congregation of Christ Episcopal Church on Henry St in Binghamton, and STAP’s Community Partners Levine, Gouldin & Thompson for their generosity to STAP’s clients. Another example of STAP’s commitment to it’s clients success and empowerment was the AIDS Mastery provided by the Northern Lights Alternatives in March 2011. Now more than ever, individuals living with HIV need space to explore the effects of life with HIV in the 21st Century. The Mastery is an intensive weekend workshop that offers individuals a safe environment to explore the ways that HIV might be holding them back and find ways of living well and

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opening up new possibilities or deal with the difficulties of living rediscovering them. It is a chance with HIV and AIDS. Programs to see how we might live our offered are designed to help lives differently in the future if our clients cope with their daily we want to, incorporating HIV struggles and to revitalize their rather than being controlled by physical and spiritual wellit. The Mastery was founded on being. This unique experience the belief that “when we have an offers people living with a experience of self-empowerment, chronic illness 3 days/2 nights of the circumstances of our lives, education, spiritual growth and including HIV, do not necessarily an opportunity to meet others Christmas tree designed by Michael Grasso and Angela Grasso have to determine the quality of impacted by HIV/AIDS. Last Kehoe for the 2010 Home for the Holidays display. our lives.” During this workshop, year was our most successful eight (8) participants explored the retreat to-date for the 42 HIV+ possibilities of living full, rich, and empowered lives. All that individuals that attended. Clients enjoyed making new attended reported being glad they went and some stated the friends, learning about their own spiritual journey, and drew weekend had a “profound positive lasting effect on how they strength from a refreshed perspective on life. This could will live their lives,” while others went so far as to state, “They not have been possible without our community’s support are changed forever, and once again know what hope is.” and donations of financial assistance, products and services. After all, it is only through the amazing community support STAP receives that these events are provided. If you are Lastly, STAP is already working hard to plan the 10th Annual interested in more information about how you can make a Client Spiritual Retreat “Journeys,” scheduled to take place financial contribution to continue STAP’s mission of putting in June 2011 at Sky Lake in Windsor. The mission of this client’s first, please contact Director of Development, Mary very special retreat is to “assist individuals in finding inner Kaminsky at 607-798-1706. strength by awakening spiritual awareness” as a means to Gayle Pado, Director of Client Services

AIDS Ride for Life 2011

Join us on September 10, 2011 for the Ride of your life! Save the date and check out to learn how to register as a rider or volunteer! We hope to see you on 9/10/11 ! Scan this with your smart phone QR Reader to learn more about the AIDS Ride for Life!

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122 Baldwin Street Johnson City, NY 13790



Albany, NY PERMIT #58 ZIP CODE 12202

Winter 2011


is serving more men, women, and children than ever in our 26 years of providing services. Say “I care” by sending your gift today. Your generosity makes a difference! Yes! I can help the Southern Tier AIDS Program continue to provide services for people living with HIV/AIDS and provide prevention services to help reduce the rate of HIV infection in the Southern Tier. Enclosed is my tax-deductible donation of:

❑ $25

❑ $50

❑ $100

❑ $250

❑ Other: $_________

Checks should be made payable to:

STAP, 122 Baldwin St., Johnson City, NY 13790 Please charge my donation to my:

❑ Visa

❑ Mastercard

Name:_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

CC#: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Address:_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Exp. Date: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

________________________ __________________

Signature:_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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POZ Focus Winter 2011  

Southern Tier AIDS Program Winter 2011 Newsletter

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