Every holiday season, some fantastic supporters and advocates across the community come together to make the season bright for NAP clients across the state. Two local groups go out of their way to make sure that people living with HIV can enjoy the holiday season: The Imperial Court of Nebraska (ICON) and Rejoice! Lutheran Church. [caption id="attachment_5618" align="alignnone" width="690"] The ICON crew shopping for the families of NAP clients.[/caption] Every year ICON hosts a holiday fundraiser at The Max to benefit NAP clients and their families during the holiday season. This year ICON's efforts provided gifts to 125 children of NAP clients, as well as gift cards to 300 client households across the state in Scottsbluff, Kearney, Norfolk, Lincoln, and Omaha! Rejoice! Lutheran Church hosts a giving tree, where church members are able to provide gifts for NAP clients. Thanks to the Rejoice!, we had 37 of our clients participate in the Adult Gift Giveaway in Omaha. Many of NAP's clients do not have large amounts of disposable income to spend on gifts. The costs associated with HIV medical care and maintaining stable housing are large. The support received from ICON and Rejoice! makes a huge difference in the lives of our clients making life more enjoyable during the holiday season. THANK YOU ICON AND REJOICE!
22Dec 21DecThere’s a saying that ‘the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart’. Nebraskans show their hearts when supporting Worlds AIDS Day. World AIDS Day was first recognized on December 1, 1988. Since its inception as a global health day, acknowledging the more than 35 million people living with HIV around the world, and the more than 35 million who have passed from AIDS-related complications since the virus was first identified in 1984, World AIDS Day has become an effort to unite communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS. During the past few decades, our friends and neighbors all across Nebraska have gathered to celebrate, honor, and remember the lives of those who are currently living with HIV as well as those who have passed. As the state’s only AIDS Service Organization, the Nebraska AIDS Project has been there along the way to recognize and lift up the spirits of those in Nebraska who are struggling. Who are grieving. Who are living life to the fullest. Who are standing in solidarity with those who have been impacted by the virus. Who are willing to walk along the sometimes rough road that accompanies this diagnosis. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way, and we’ve been fortunate to participate so actively with those in Nebraska who are interested in remembering and honoring their family, friends, and community members who have been impacted by HIV. From the western-most point in Nebraska to the eastern-most point, we’ve gathered to celebrate and embrace those needing it most. World AIDS Day in Nebraska serves as an outlet to educate, to celebrate and salute the dignity of those affected by HIV, and to come together in solidarity. We encourage our staff members across the state to participate in local World AIDS Day activities. Here are the stories of a few of those celebrations… Scottsbluff – The Calico Spirit Group and Nebraska AIDS Project partnered to host an educational program and candle-lighting ceremony, featuring a key note address from Jeff Tracy, from Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska (CAPWN). This event was open to the public, and featured Mr. Tracy’s presentation, “State of HIV Care”, in conjunction with a meal and candle-lighting ceremony. The World AIDS Day event, celebrating the lives of those living or impacted by HIV in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming, is now in its 15th consecutive year. News coverage from KNEP NBC Nebraska here. Central Nebraska: Hastings/Kearney/Grand Island – Hastings College organized an event on their campus, featuring two speakers as well as presenters from their student HIV awareness group, called Peer HIV Education Organization (PHIVE-O). Luminaries were placed on the lawn of the student union after lunch and remained lit in honor of World AIDS Day late into the evening. [caption id="attachment_5560" align="alignnone" width="350"] PHIVE-O awareness group arranging luminaries on the student union lawn to recognize World AIDS Day at Hastings College.
[/caption] Lincoln – Southeast Community College invited Nebraska AIDS Project to participate and educate attendees to its World AIDS Day event on campus. The Student Activities representatives on campus played Plinko with questions about HIV/AIDS and gave students an opportunity to learn and win prizes. This event was open to the public and some visitors from outside the school attended as well. This event served up lots of great learning and educational opportunities about the transmission of HIV and opening up conversations on the topic of living with HIV. [caption id="attachment_5569" align="alignnone" width="350"] Lincoln NAP employee, Shaina, attending the World AIDS Day event on campus at Southeast Community College.[/caption] Northeastern Nebraska: Wayne - The Pride Group at Wayne State College asked NAP’s Norfolk Case Manager, Christin Woockman, to help with an awareness/education event on World AIDS Day. Christin provided statistics and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services sent a box of giveaways items such as keychains for the event. The group made a banner using various statistics about HIV, to use as a visual presentation. Condoms and brochures were distributed, along with cards about free testing at student health. The newspaper at Wayne State College covered the event and several students participated. [caption id="attachment_5562" align="alignnone" width="350"] World AIDS Day educational event at Wayne State College[/caption] Omaha– Metropolitan Community Church in Omaha hosted a service, inviting NAP staff to attend and help guide the service. A section of “The NAMES Project – AIDS Memorial Quilt” was on display at the event and was a reminder to those in attendance of the awe-inspiring legacy of the battle against HIV/AIDS that we strive to continue to uphold. Our own Executive Director, Jordan Delmundo, delivered an inspiring speech reminding those in attendance that despite the political climate, we will rise above and live to see the end of HIV/AIDS. Community members shared personal stories about overcoming fear, and calling to end stigma associated with an HIV diagnosis. Several community members shared inspiring messages about their personal journey either living with HIV, or supporting a loved one. This type of service makes an impact by bringing the community together and asking that we all love and support one another, and that we raise our voices in the face of injustice and stand in solidarity. A local group of women affected by HIV created a quilt this year to commemorate the event. This quilt is now on display in the Omaha NAP office. In addition to the main event at MCC, NAP’s Youth Engagement Coordinator, Abigael Stewart also attended educational events at Bank of the West and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. News coverage from WOWT NBC Omaha here. [caption id="attachment_5563" align="alignnone" width="350"] A portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on display at Metropolitan Community Church in Omaha[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5614" align="alignnone" width="350"] Quilt created by a local group of women affected by HIV, can now be viewed at the Omaha NAP office.[/caption] To make a donation to the Nebraska AIDS Project, please click here. Your donation dollars help us continue our mission to serve those impacted by HIV right here in Nebraska. London Woolman is the Accounting & HR Manager for the Nebraska AIDS Project, overseeing the financials, human resources, and operations of all NAP offices across Nebraska. In addition to her work at NAP, London is a runner/trapeze school graduate/Night Court rerun watcher.
Nebraska AIDS Project's Year End Matching Challenge!There are a lot of unknowns as to how our election results will impact people living with HIV. We are all wondering if we can maintain the progress we've made towards the end of the epidemic, but like the brave people in the early days of AIDS who founded NAP and places like it, we will move forward in the face of that uncertainty. As the year comes to an end, I have fantastic news to share. A group of supporters want us to end 2016 on a high note and agreed to match all donations to NAP up to $5,000 through December 31st! DONATE TODAY TO MAKE YOUR SUPPORT HAVE TWICE THE IMPACT! Help NAP provide critical support services to over 600 low income people living with HIV, and their families, as they access medical care and housing. Help us provide education and HIV/STI testing to over 2,300 people across the state. Help us advocate for policy that addresses the root causes of the epidemic. We now live in a world the end of the epidemic is truly in sight. We have every tool in the toolbox and we will not look back. But our progress is only as good as our ability to sustain it. Help us with a year-end gift today! Click here to make your tax deductible donation. Or mail your check to: Nebraska AIDS Project, 250 S 77th St, Suite A, Omaha, NE 68114. Best regards, Jordan Delmundo, MPA, MSW | Executive Director
7DecThank you all for making Night of a Thousand Stars such a success. Because of you and over 600 others, we we're able to raise over $95,000 to support NAP's critical services as we lead the community to the end of HIV and AIDS. [caption id="attachment_5535" align="alignright" width="149"] Marian Fey[/caption] Every year, Nebraska AIDS Project recognizes a community member who has gone above and beyond in the fight against HIV and AIDS in our community. This year’s Shining Star Award winner is Marian Fey. It has been an honor and privilege to know and work with Marian. Her work advocating for comprehensive sex education has made a huge difference for the students of Omaha Public Schools and, especially, the fight against HIV and AIDS. Nebraska AIDS Project was founded in a time of great uncertainty - at a time when the President refused to even utter the word "AIDS". No one knew how things would play out, but courageous people knew that, in the face of impossible odds, they had to do something. It's because of those people that we have places like NAP today. They made what seemed impossible possible. Marian Fey recognized that we needed to do better for our students. Thirty year old sex education standards do not meet the needs of our young people today. With sky high STI rates and rampant misinformation surrounding sex education, Marian championed the effort for not just change, but long overdue justice. Marian, thank you for all you have done to update those 30 year old standards in the face of such negative opposition. You're light shined bright and our community is better for it. We are honored to have you as our Shining Star of 2016. https://youtu.be/Ydiu6Piab7E 17Nov“I have AIDS,” he said. What was long known was now spoken. I was the fifth of eight children in my family and Tim was the sixth. Growing up in a family that had too many problems and too little to give, we relied on one another. We shared a love of hard work, happy holidays, great parties, and one another. After Tim’s diagnosis became official, my first call was to the Nebraska AIDS Project hotline. They were there. There to answer questions. There to offer resources. There to give desperately needed support. Tim’s journey included one experimental drug after another as he valiantly made the most of each day, always looking for a kind something to do for someone else. Tim died the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He was 35. Since his death over 20 years ago, my friends and family have joined me each year to honor Tim and to support Nebraska AIDS Project at NAP’s Night of a Thousand Stars. This year I have the privilege of serving as the honorary chair of Night of a Thousand Stars. The celebration on Saturday December 3 begins at 8 p.m. at the beautifully renovated KANEKO. Enjoy music, dessert, and a silent auction. We’ll also be giving the Shining Star Award to Marian Fey for her rock star advocacy on the Omaha School Board. I hope you will join me in honoring Tim and supporting the essential education, advocacy and supportive services that NAP provides our community. Purchase tickets for Night of a Thousand Stars or you can make a donation HERE to support NAP! Still not sure? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about the Honorary Chair’s PRE-Party! With appreciation, Susan Ann Koenig 2016 Honorary Chair Night of a Thousand Stars 10NovOur usual monthly staff meeting was the morning after the election. Normally our staff from across the state get together to share updates and celebrate recent successes, but the mood in the room was somber. There is a lot of anxiety as to how this election will impact the people living with HIV we serve in Nebraska, Iowa, and Wyoming. Great uncertainty surrounds the pillars upon which we have built so much of our recent success. Will the Affordable Care Act be repealed? Will people living with HIV lose the right to purchase health insurance that we have fought decades to obtain? Will our public health infrastructure, education system, and social safety nets suffer losses that weaken our defense against HIV? Whether these things happens or not, we do not know. Here is what we know: HIV succeeds where we as a society struggle. HIV thrives where there is ignorance, poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism, and stigma. When we address these issues, we are fighting HIV. We know our legacy is that of people who faced down a plague – people who were compelled to stand when every reality in their world tried to push them to their knees. No matter what happens as a result of this election, we will not forget from where we came. We will persevere. With our partners, we will push forward to a world free of HIV and AIDS. We know our work is more important now than it was two days ago. We know you understand this too. Best regards, Jordan Delmundo, MPA, MSW Nebraska AIDS Project - Executive Director P.S. - So many people have reached out in the past days, asking how they can help now that the election is over. To all of you - you give us so much hope! For those of you who are wondering how you can help, you can donate online or apply to become a volunteer! Visit our Get Involved page for more information.