Washington AIDS Partnership Health Corps Program
The Washington AIDS Partnership recruits, trains, and mentors a team of 12 young people who serve at Washington, D.C. health care and community-based service providers. These 12 individuals make up the Health Corps team, a program of AmeriCorps. Once a week, members works together on a joint service project benefiting the community. Such projects include volunteering at the Joyful Food Market, a Martha’s Table and Capital City Food Bank initiative to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables east of the Anacostia River. At other times, members coordinate community events and perform HIV testing and counseling as a mobile outreach unit.
Each Health Corps member is a critical resource for the community. The 2017-2018 team tested and counseled 2,949 people for HIV, provided health education to 2,177 people, and helped 2,813 people access care, hospice, and other supportive services. In addition to helping people improve their lives and health, members grow immensely through a year of service. To date, the Partnership has mentored over 200 young people, now leaders in the health, legal, and education fields.
Team members are placed at a variety of nonprofit agencies. The 2018-2019 host agencies for the program include Food & Friends, HIPS, Joseph’s House, La Clinica del Pueblo, Latin American Youth Center, N Street Village, and Whitman-Walker Health.
Improving Lives Through Service: Member Quotes
“I learn more from the women of N Street Village than I could ever teach them. At N Street Village, I am part of a diverse group of social workers, advocates, educators, nurses, doctors, and volunteers that serve the homeless and extremely low-income women of D.C. I work in a trauma-informed care environment that uses an intensive case management model, culturally competent, holistic approach. My work at N Street is both challenging and fulfilling. My client population is typically much older than I am, and I had a steep learning curve in learning to effectively communicate and interact with the women. However, I’ve learned to take the time to listen, to ask questions, to check-in, and to follow up to build healthy relationships. N Street Village is a community of empowerment and recovery where we are in solidarity with our women and serve them with dignity and respect. The women share humbling stories that break my heart, and motivate me to never stop working for health equity, access, and justice.”
“There is a tired mantra sung by fresh college grads about the desire to do practical work following school. Working with the Washington AIDS Partnership seemed like the best way for me to get that real life experience. My assumption was correct, but the experience was wrapped a lot differently than I had anticipated.
My placement at Joseph’s House has been unlike any work I have ever done, or ever will do again. I share in a process of living and dying with the men that has taught me invaluable lessons as well as served to redirect my personal goals and ambitions. Moreover, the men and staff at Joseph’s House have taught me about the world of homelessness, sickness, pain and drug abuse, a world that far too frequently gets distorted, ignored or forgotten. I have little doubt that someday when I look back on my year of service I will be unable to properly examine my experiences without seeing the impact they had on the rest of my life.”