For four days during spring break from March 4-7, 14 students and four staff members participated in an Alternative Spring Break program exploring the issue of HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia. We visited the Mazzoni Center, ActionAIDS, The Attic Youth Center, Youth Health Empowerment Project of Philadelphia FIGHT, the Institute for Community Justice of Philadelphia FIGHT, ASIAC, and the William Way Community Center to learn about how these groups engage with HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia, through community outreach, direct service provision, and advocacy.
Photos at left:
Folding donation envelopes at ActionAIDS for the Dining Out for Life program
A group shot from our day of service with the Mazzoni Center
Assembling safer sex kits at Y-HEP
Assembling safer sex kits with ASIAC
Over the course of the week we put together countless safer sex kits, surveyed community members regarding their willingness to use a mobile HIV testing unit, folded 45,000 envelopes for ActionAIDS’ Dining Out for Life Program (yes, 45,000), participated in an acting workshop and safer sex discussion with queer youth at the Attic, and painted the William Way Community Center lobby/gallery space.
Students filled out a short application for the program and were selected from 26 total applicants. I was with the students all four days as the trip coordinator. Three other staff members joined us for one day each (Ian Magill, Lynne Walker, and Marc Caserio—all Student Affairs staff).
Andrew J. Young is a graduate assistant for community service working with Dr. Walt Perry in Student Affairs.