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May 3, 2010

"We rode in 91-degree heat, through torrential rain, and a tornado."

So says Marty Rosen, ride director for the Empire State AIDS Ride, which raised over $200,000 for AIDS research and services in August. More than 50 courageous New Yorkers participated in the ride, a 560 mile, 7-day bicycle journey from Niagara Falls to New York City.

Despite the rough conditions, "everyone remained safe, healthy and in great spirits," Rosen says. "Neither the recession nor the weather could stop this amazing group from raising more than $200,000 for AIDS research and services and having a blast on and off their bikes."

ASC is the ride's newest beneficiary. "We're proud to support the important services that ASC provides," Rosen says. " I've visited many times, and am always impressed by how many clients with HIV/AIDS have overcome poverty and drug abuse and gone on to help others through ASC's peer recovery education program."

Thank you to everyone involved with the Empire State AIDS Ride. ASC looks forward to working together on next year's ride!

May 3, 2010

Three years ago, I found out that a family member had HIV. That was the first time I became aware of HIV/AIDS, and it was a real wake-up call.

I'm 29 years old and living in a shelter with my four kids, twins (a boy and a girl) who are 7 years old, a 4 year old daughter, and a 2 month old son. I used to just sit in my room and cry. The shelter is so difficult. I see women who have been there for years and nothing changes for them. I don't want that for me and my kids.

Then one day I met John from ASC standing in front of the shelter, handing out flyers and talking about AIDS prevention and services. John talked to me, took me to ASC, and introduced me to Vanessa and the HERS program (Honoring Everywoman's Right to Safety).

For seven months now, I've been attending HERS at ASC's Harlem office. The group has really saved me. I was headed into a depression. I wish the group was 5 days a week. The older women in the group who have been where I am now, in a shelter with young children, they tell me on a weekly basis that it's not always going to be this tough. Their encouragement, and the hope I feel from the group, gets me through my day. They motivate me, inspire me, and help me stay focused.

HERS has also been teaching me how to be more independent. Listening to other people's stories in the group really helps me. The HERS counselor reminds me that it can get better if I do my part.

Now my twins are enrolled in school and my 4-year old is in a head-start program. I'm also trying to quit smoking and the ASC HERS staff support me in sticking with it and help me with other healthy goals too.

This past June with the support of my amazing ASC counselor at HERS, I got tested for HIV and I'm negative. It was a very scary experience to get tested and I couldn't have done it without ASC. They really helped me through it.

Another goal of mine is going back to school and getting an education so I can find a good job. However, with four kids it's difficult. I've applied for two positions and I'm waiting to hear back. And hoping.

Photo: David Nager/ASCNYC

May 3, 2010

Women's support group in East Harlem.

The Keith Haring Foundation is helping ASC to transform our East Harlem offices through a renovation and naming grant that will boldly present Haring's iconic artwork while sustaining a safe space for Harlem residents to find respect, connection, and care.

The New York City Council is backing the initiative as well. Under the leadership of Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito, the Council will help outfit ASC's Keith Haring Harlem Center with high-tech equipment and ergonomic furniture. This comfortable, welcoming environment will let us provide peer education, HIV testing, and support groups in a warm setting that feels like ‘home.'

About our Harlem services: ASC serves more than 2,600 New Yorkers affected by AIDS each year, and over half of them reside in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. ASC's Harlem Community Center on East 104th Street provides HIV testing, peer education and access to care services close to where clients live. Connecting people to medical care, helping them find housing, and educating about health-risk prevention, are all part of our work.

With that in mind, we've also mobilized support from partners to expand HIV testing and access to care throughout Harlem.

Mount Sinai's Jack Martin Clinic is expanding its Harlem community-based services through partnership with the ASC Keith Haring Harlem Center. Together, we will ensure full access to our range of services; we'll escort patients to medical appointments, help them with medication and treatment adherence, facilitate support groups, and advocate with public benefits systems.

This comprehensive care coordination model keeps low income HIV-positive men and women in quality HIV care – and improves health.

How you can build for the future with us in Harlem

Renovation of the ASC Keith Haring Harlem Center will begin this fall. The Keith Haring Foundation will co-host our ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2010. Become a part of our tapestry of support – and make the ASC Keith Haring Harlem Center vision a reality. Naming opportunities include private counseling rooms, cooking facilities, group meeting spaces, and a garden. A website of the renovation with before and after photos will launch soon! For more information, contact Anne West-Church, Director of Development and Communications, (212) 645-0875 ext. 373 / anne@ascnyc.org.

Photo: David Nager/ASCNYC

May 3, 2010

Celebrate Pride Month By Participating in Front Runners New York's Annual Pride Run!

On June 26, 2010, New York Road Runners and Front Runners team up to produce the 29th Annual Front Runners New York Lesbian & Gay Pride Run, a five-mile run in Central Park. This is a great way to celebrate Pride Weekend with some fresh air in Central Park and to be a part of a fun and exciting day. More than 5,000 women and men of all levels and ages are expected to be trotting the course and will share in pre- and post-race entertainment. As the premiere athletic event of Pride Weekend, the Pride run is an inclusive event celebrating health, fitness and community. You can enjoy music, get exercise, meet new friends and perhaps win some great raffle prizes. Last year's prizes included a trip to Vienna, round-trip domestic flights through Continental and Equinox gym memberships. The race starts at 9:00 am with a festival before and after the run. All proceeds benefit charity. Sign up today! For more information about the race and to register, click on the following link: http://nyrr.org/races/2010/r0626x00.asp

FRNY, a running club for lesbians, gay men and supportive others with over 500 members, has formed a two-year partnership with AIDS Service Center NYC. In addition to its financial contributions to ASC, FRNY is committed to bringing its mission of healthier living through running to the ASC community. Please stay tuned for information about the new FRNY Wellness Room at the Union Square location and a special run leading from the new Keith Haring ASC Harlem Center in East Harlem on Sunday, May 23 (Keith Haring ASC Harlem Center, 315 East 104th Street, at 2nd Avenue). For more information about Front Runners New York, please visit www.frny.org. The club has runs for people of all levels every Wednesday night and Saturday morning and is always looking for newcomers!

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