A&U Magazine spoke with Alliance Executive Director/CEO Sharen Duke about our renowned Peer Recovery Education Program (PREP) and recent graduates of our 50th cycle. PREP empowers New Yorkers affected by HIV/AIDS, chronic health issues, and substance use to help others overcome health challenges.
Alliance's Velia Hernandez, Associate Director of Outreach, and Evelyn Lopez, Chief Program Officer, recently sat down to discuss our harm reduction programs -- including overdose prevention training -- with BronxNet, in English and Spanish! Watch both interviews below:
Open: Alliance for Positive Change
Dialogo Abierto: La Alianza para el Cambio Positivo
For two and a half decades, Alliance has empowered New Yorkers affected by HIV/AIDS, chronic health issues, and substance use to help others overcome health challenges as part of our renowned Peer Recovery Education Program (PREP).
Tuesday, May 29, marked a milestone as we graduated our 50th class of PREP program participants at a moving ceremony held at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
"Positive change is the hallmark of Alliance. It’s our mission, our mantra, our passion, our obsession and our goal. Peers are the people who truly transform challenge into positive in their own lives and in communities across New York City."
-- Sharen Duke, Founding Exec. Director/CEO of Alliance
Since its first class, more than 1,500 people have graduated from PREP, and these community ambassadors connect with over 15,000 New Yorkers every year.
Many of the graduates of this 8-week program have stories of loss and trauma, but also of hope – as they stepped up to confront their challenges, and enrolled in this program to feel better, live better and do better.
"By far, Sharen and the entire team of Alliance absolutely are the greatest advocates we can ever ask for… We know that lived experience is the most significant experience that we can share with another person who may not be in the place where we are today."
-- Johanne Morne, Director of NYS AIDS Institute
New York City Council Member Mark Levine, who chairs the Council’s Health Committee, gave a special address to the graduates.
"I am truly inspired the philosophy by the mission by the work of the Alliance, which is investing in lives and unlocking human potential… Each one of you is more inspiring than the next. This is really milestone for all of you; this is the beginning for all of you; it’s the beginning of a career. The role that you are about to play as peers is really the cutting edge of health care."
-- Council Member Mark Levine
The ceremony also featured a keynote speech by Florence Punch, Peer Alumni and graduate of the 23rd cycle of Peers, a photo presentation by Alliance Director of Photography David Nager, a testimonial by Peer Graduate Levi Stevenson, and a presentation of certificates (led by Brenda Starks-Ross, Jean Pierre-Louis, Joyce Myricks, and Stephen Williams).
Closing the event were remarks from Alliance Board Member Patrick Maher, who called the graduations “inspirational,” and then cited the words of the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
He added, “It takes a lot strength and courage to change direction and forge a new path in life, and this graduation is another step in your journey.”
Photos: David Nager/Alliance
Reilly Glasgow, of the Alliance's Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, sat down with 106.7 Lite FM's Nina del Rio to discuss our overdose prevention efforts.
Reilly has saved dozens of lives by administering Narcan to prevent overdose deaths. In this interview, he talks about his first-hand experience with the opioid crisis in NYC and how every New Yorker can #SaveALife.
Learn more: alliance.nyc/savealife
While you are charging your phone at a LinkNYC kiosk this month, take a minute and soak in some poetry.
The electronic information boards will feature poems by clients of the Alliance for Positive Change, a nonprofit that helps people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.
For more than 15 years, the organization has offered creative writing classes that provide a safe and powerful outlet for people to express their life experiences.
Sharen I. Duke, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Alliance for Positive Change, issued the following statement today in response to the U.S, Surgeon General’s recommendation for more widespread distribution of life-saving naloxone kits:
"Our city, state and nation are facing an unprecedented opioid epidemic in recent years, and the Surgeon General’s recommendation hopefully will raise more alarm that it takes more than government and healthcare providers to save lives – it takes everyday people. People who can be the first to respond when they are equipped with the skills and naloxone, and spot someone on the subway, on the street, or even in their homes, who may be overdosing.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in our country, outnumbering both traffic crashes and gun-related deaths. As the Surgeon General notes, every day we lose 115 people to opioid overdose in this country – one person every 12½ minutes.
Ask yourself: if you saw someone overdosing on the street, would you know what to do? Most people would not, but there are simple steps you can take to save someone’s life, and it begins with recognizing the signs of an overdose and knowing how to respond quickly. At Alliance, we want to help New Yorkers step up to save a life and give that person a second chance.”
Drug overdoses have reached an all-time high during the ongoing opioid crisis. In 2016 alone, there were 1,374 unintentional drug overdose deaths in New York City, a staggering 46% increase from the prior year.
CONSIDER THIS: A New Yorker dies from an overdose every 7 hours.
We are doing our part to address this epidemic - by launching the #SaveALife campaign.
Through #SaveALife, we plan to raise $5,000 to train 100 New Yorkers on how to spot the signs of an overdose and administer naloxone, a lifesaving drug that reverses opioid overdose. A generous board member has already committed to matching the first $2,000 that we raise.
Join us. #SaveALife. Visit us at alliance.nyc/savealife or text #savealife to 844-544-7171.
February 7 marked National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Members of the Alliance joined BRIC-TV to talk about how the HIV epidemic is impacting communities of color and what can be done to prevent it.
Ebony Ross, Director of Development & Planning at The Alliance for Positive Change, and Jeff Simmons, Executive Vice President, Anat Gerstein, Inc., appeared on QPTV in December to discuss the Alliance's programs and services, and a campaign to raise money to provide home improvement kits to New Yorkers who are making a positive change in their lives.
Telemundo 47 spoke to Velia Hernandez, Associate Director- HIV/HCV Testing, Linkage to Care and Navigation Services, along with two of our recent Peer Training graduates about all the Alliance has to offer.