Saving A Life in the Mid-Hudson

August 9th, 2019

Narcan overdose kitHVCS employees improve lives each and every day, and may of us feel we are saving lives by encouraging clients to make one healthier decision at a time. Yesterday, members of our team literally saved a life–with one bold decision.

Early in the afternoon, staff in one of our Mid-Hudson offices were notified that someone was unconscious in the parking lot. Jennifer (Director of Education & Prevention), Cameron (PRO Program Supervisor) , and Heather (SEP Prevention Specialist) rushed to assess the situation. An employee from another agency in the building had brought down a Narcan kit but didn’t know if the unconscious individual needed it. Heather quickly checked the person for responsiveness by performing a sternum rub. Since there was no response, Heather administered Narcan. After one dose, the individual started to respond. Police and EMTs arrived and took the person to the hospital.

Heather, thank you for your quick thinking and action. You truly shined, and you’ve made all of us at HVCS very proud. And thanks to Cameron and Jennifer for your support and depth of knowledge too!

HVCS Represents at O+ Festival in Poughkeepsie

August 7th, 2019

HVCS' Bob and Jovanny table at the O+ Festival in PoughkeepsieHudson Valley Community Services’ Bob (representing our Medical Benefits program) and Jovanny (from our Men’s Services HIV prevention program) tabled at the O+ Festival on Saturday, August 3rd in downtown Poughkeepsie. O+ empowers communities to take control of their collective wellbeing through the exchange of art, music, and wellness.​

Underinsured artists and musicians create and perform in exchange for a variety of services donated by doctors, dentists and complementary care providers. O+ (pronounced O Positive) calls this exchange the art of medicine for the medicine of art.

HVCS was there to connect with those who might need one of our many services.

“Now I Can Eat A Hot Meal” – One Client’s Story

July 11th, 2019

A beneficiary of the Hector Martinez Memorial Fund

Gail*, who is in her seventies and lives alone, suffers from kidney disease and other health concerns. As a result, she has trouble standing and cannot cook for herself. Even if she wanted to, the oven and stove in her apartment do not work well–and she cannot afford to replace them or move. She started receiving assistance from Meals on Wheels, but she did not have a microwave to heat the meals. Gail ate her donated meals cold or had to trouble her neighbor to use her microwave.

Enter Gail’s care manager, Jaclyn. When she learned that Gail was eating cold meals most of the time, she put in a request to HVCS’ Hector Martinez Memorial Fund to purchase a new microwave. The Hector Fund, as we call it, was set up in 2018 in memory of Hector Martinez, a former employee, to provide emergency financial assistance for our clients.

Here’s Gail with her new microwave, which she uses every day to enjoy hot meals–at last! She no longer feels like a burden to her neighbors, either. “I am so appreciative of HVCS and the Hector Fund!” she says.

If you would like to support the Hector Fund and enable more clients like Gail to live with dignity, please visit our Donate page.

 

*Gail has granted HVCS permission to share her story and photo.

Donors In The Spotlight: PCSB, UBS Both Hold Food Drives For HVCS

June 28th, 2019

Special thanks go out to two financial companies with local ties–PCBS Bank and UBS–for both holding food drives this June to benefit our Westchester/Putnam food and toiletry closet. By sheer coincidence, both banks arranged a drop-off of collected goods on Friday, June 28, 2019.

UBS logoUBS, located in White Plains, has organized an internal food drive for the past four years. Employees collect and contribute donations of non-perishable food, household cleaning products, and toiletries.

PCSB BankPCBS Bank, which is a local institution with several branches throughout the region, held a collection drive during the month of June. We are grateful to have their support for the first time.

All donations will help HVCS’ clients obtain more and better nutritional options, plus personal care items to improve hygiene and encourage a healthy home environment. Clients receive pre-packed bags of food on a monthly basis to supplement other nutritional resources, and staff deliver food bags to clients who cannot make it to our Hawthorne or Mount Vernon offices.

Annual AIDS Walk Donations from Otisville’s PACE Group

June 24th, 2019

On May 18, 2019, members of Prisoners for AIDS Counseling and Education (PACE) at Otisville  Correctional Facility held their annual AIDS Walk. Here’s a look at the results of their fundraising efforts, which take the form of donated foods given to our Newburgh food closet.

Otisville PACE AIDS Walk proceeds 2019

This is a tradition that has been going on for many years and is a highlight of the year for the PACE Program. PACE members advocate for and counsel fellow inmates on HIV/AIDS issues, passing along life-saving educational information.

As inmates, the PACE members do not have access to traditional fundraising tools, so they collect donations of food from fellow inmates, purchased from the Otisville commissary. Inmates do not have the ability to earn or keep much money so these donations are extra-special. (We try to stock healthy, low-sodium items in our food closet, so ramen is usually not on our shopping list. In this case, however, we gladly accepted them, knowing how much work they represented. Plus, our clients who are not on low-sodium diets get to indulge in a treat.)

Special thanks to everyone involved in PACE Otisville, and for our Criminal Justice Initiative program staff for helping to make this donation happen!

HVCS staff put away Otisville PACE AIDS Walk proceeds

Carmen, our Newburgh Program Assistant, and Barbara, CJI Linkage Specialist, pack away proceeds from PACE Otisville’s annual AIDS Walk.

National HIV Testing Day

June 18th, 2019
National HIV Testing Day

I’m Doing It. Testing for HIV.

 

HVCS is collaborating with Walgreens in Poughkeepsie, located at 827 Dutchess Turnpike, for National HIV Testing Day (June 27th). Our team will be on site from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm for free confidential HIV testing, information on PrEP, as well as HIV prevention, care and treatment. We are partnering with Greater Than AIDS for this community event.

Narcan Training For Pleasantville Strong

May 10th, 2019

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, Hudson Valley Community Services joined forces with Pleasantville Strong and several community leaders to offer a free training and certification on how to use Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug. Pleasantville Strong organized the event at the Mt. Pleasant Community Center in Valhalla, and forty concerned citizens attended. Melissa Shippy, a Senior Program Supervisor here at HVCS, provided the training, and Andrea Parada, Foundation Grants & Fundraising Manager, represented the agency. Speakers included Mt. Pleasant Judge Robert Ponzini, Councilwoman Laura Rogersmalley and Town Police Chief Paul Oliva.

Hudson Valley Gives Day Is Coming Up!

April 25th, 2019

Hudson Valley Gives DayHudson Valley Gives, a local day of online philanthropy, is coming up on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, and it’s your chance to connect with a non-profit providing services in your own backyard. Donate at HVCS’ special page on HVGives.org and we’ll potentially unlock some great incentives, matching funds and set new local donation records!

If you make a $25 donation, you supply a client and their family with food for three days.

Make a $35 donation, and you put socks on the feet of 18 homeless clients.

Make a $50 donation and you help three low-income people know their HIV status by covering the cost of HIV testing.

With a $75 donation, you help us provide Narcan kits, life-saving overdose reversal medication, to those at high risk for overdose (and/or their family members and friends).

Mark your calendar and get ready to donate on May 15th–and join thousands of others in making the Hudson Valley an even better place to live healthfully and thrive!

 

HVCS Receives $22,000 From The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, In Partnership With Macy’s

March 25th, 2019

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS FoundationHudson Valley Community Services has been awarded a grant for $22,000 from The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) in partnership with Macy’s. The grant will be used for HVCS’ Psychosocial Support Services (PSS) program, which is a unique vehicle to provide HIV-positive residents of Westchester, Putnam and Rockland with emotional and psychological support, support groups, and ensure they remain connected to care and community. Specifically, ETAF’s grant will fund art therapy and interactive journaling for the women’s support group. PSS began on March 1, 2019.

HVCS is honored to be recognized for our innovative approach in support of people affected by HIV and AIDS. “Hudson Valley Community Services is a powerful part of a collective effort to achieve an AIDS-free world, a world Elizabeth Taylor is still helping to realize through ETAF” said Catherine Brown, Executive Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. “ETAF and Macy’s are honored to support HVCS with these funds to continue our aligned goals of health equity and zero discrimination for all people living with or at risk for HIV and AIDS.”

Through their Cause Marketing Program, Thanks For Sharing, Macy’s recognizes their responsibility to support disadvantaged communities and the needs of their neighbors. They are proud to partner with ETAF and have contributed to this grant.

The Psychosocial Support Services program’s main funder is the Ryan White CARE Act, Part A, administered by Public Health Solutions.

About The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF)
Founded in 1991, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) joins Elizabeth’s voice in the fight for social justice and human rights for people living with HIV and AIDS to achieve an AIDS-free world. Inspired by Elizabeth’s personal passion for the cause, in 2019 ETAF is focused on youth, women, children and families, ensuring they receive the direct care and support they need both domestically and in Malawi, the hotspot of the global epidemic. ETAF’s advocacy and awareness initiatives concentrate on elevating Elizabeth’s voice to secure care for the marginalized and social equity for all. To learn more or to make a donation please visit www.etaf.org.

VIDEO: Your Questions About Safer Sex, Answered

March 18th, 2019

 

Got questions about the latest ways to reduce your risk for HIV, STDs and hepatitis C? So do lots of our followers. Members of our Education & Prevention Department went live on Facebook to answer them. In this video, we covered PrEP, PEP, how risky certain sexual behaviors are (or not), and how to reach our programs for more services!

Need free testing services? Contact us at (845) 704-7624 — you can call OR text! ? You can also email us to set up an appointment.