You want me to plan World AIDS Day?!?

By Catherine Malin on December 12, 2013 in AmeriCorps, World AIDS Day

In early October my supervisor asked me to plan the Damien Center’s World AIDS Day event. I was immediately overwhelmed. What was I supposed to do? How did one organization celebrate such an important event? I picked my co-workers’ brains and perused the internet for ideas. This year’s theme on AIDS.gov was “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” As we move forward to an AIDS-free generation, we must remember and understand the path that has made this possible. So I decided to celebrate the progress that has been made in the HIV/AIDS World AIDS Dayfield.

I wanted this celebration to remember the past, but also have fun activities that our clients, the staff, and the public would enjoy. I reached out to our talented and always eager Damien Center volunteers. It wasn’t long before I had musicians, massage therapists, a yoga instructor, and even a Zumba instructor lined up for the event. A pharmaceutical company even agreed to provide lunch and give a presentation about the history of HIV/AIDS. The presentation complemented a timeline that we hung in the main lobby noting key events in HIV’s history.

On Wednesday December 4 (World AIDS Day is on Dec. 1, but due to the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrated on the 4th), the event went off without a hitch! The waiting area was filled with the sounds of live music provided by local musician, Candyce Fujita, while three massage therapists offered back massages to everyone who walked by. In the conference room beginning yoga and Zumba classes were being offered for anyone wanting to try something new. The volunteers surprised me with their talents and exceptional generosity. The event was well attended and everyone said they enjoyed the day.

 While planning the event I realized several things. 1) There are many talented people willing to volunteer their time and skills if they are asked. 2) Community connections are important. 3) We need to celebrate our accomplishments more often. 4) Back massages and Zumba make any day amazing!!!

Catherine is a member of AIDS United’s AmeriCorps Team in Indianapolis, IN.

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