Social Workers Walking the Walk

by Januari Leojanuarileo@yahoo.com
Originally posted April 8, 2010

My first year field placement at St. Hope Foundation, a Ryan White funded HIV/AIDS clinic, allowed me to rediscover my interest and passion in all things related to HIV/AIDS. I had worked with this community in the past, doing outreach and prevention to homeless youth, but working at St. Hope exposed me to people who are living with the disease, and to see how much things have changed since the 80s and 90s. People are no longer dying at astonishing rates. Advancements in medication and research allow people to live long, healthy lives. However, this community still requires a significant amount of funding to address the myriad of issues they face, including but not limited to housing, case management, medical, dental and ophthalmological care, food needs, and medication.

AIDS Foundation Houston is a cornerstone of the HIV/AIDS community, providing to thousands of infected Houstonians. Every year, AFH holds a fundraising walk that brings together people from all over Houston who are concerned and committed to providing top-notch care. This year, I was proud to be the project coordinator for the GCSW AIDS Walk Houston team.

In the spirit of one of the key cornerstones of social work practice, collaboration, our committee decided to ask other social work organizations and university programs to join us. We partnered with the GCSW Alumni Association, the University of Houston American Humanics program, UH Clear Lake and UH Downtown, and the National Association of Social Workers Houston branch to create the team “Social Workers Walking the Walk”. We set a team goal of 100 walkers who would raise $2,500. To offer incentives, we had prizes for the top three fundraisers. We even collected donations and held a raffle for students, faculty and staff of the GCSW who donated $5 or more to the team.

Overall, we had almost 50 people signed up to help us fundraise. Approximately 40 people joined us on the day of the walk. While we fell short of our walker goal, we raised over $1,000 MORE than we had originally set out to. As of today, the team Social Workers Walking the Walk has raised $3,508!

We chose our team name because we wanted to show the public that social workers not only believe in equal access to care and social justice, but that we are willing to put that belief in to practice. The team truly lived up to its name, and I’m very proud to have been a part of it.

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