Armed with bull horns and t-shirts that read “Get Tested”, Harlem Dowling volunteer youth brigade took to the streets of Harlem this past Friday. The six member team was on a mission to get passer buyers and residents to take part in the agency’s annual “National HIV Testing Day.” For the event Harlem Dowling along with several other agencies set up tables and erected a mobile clinic at Jackie Robinson Park on 145th Street and Bradhurst to provide free, confidential testing with rapid results. Over forty participants were empowered by knowing their results.
In addition to free testing, health screenings, and complimentary lunch, attendees were treated to a special performance by Mind Builders Creative Art Center’s Positive Youth Troupe. The Bronx based teen collective, under the direction of Gilbert Glenn Brown, performed their award winning production, “C.h.o.i.c.e.s,” (an acronym for change, happens only in choosing educated solutions). The musically infused play, which is staged aboard a city subway car, explores various choices urban teens face including unprotected sex, gun violence and abuse.
According to New York State Department of Health, Central Harlem has the highest HIV infection rate in all of Manhattan and the number of persons living with HIV/AIDS is the 2nd highest in all 5 boroughs. “HIV/AIDS is a growing concern in our community,” stated Harlem Dowling West-Side Center’s Specialized Services Director Cherie Blae. “We cannot afford to sit around in silence. We must educate ourselves and others by getting involved and being active in the fight against this disease.”
Harlem Dowling is a leading multi-service child and family centered agency. The non-profit agency is dedicated to serving children and families in crisis and distress. For nearly two centuries, Harlem Dowling has provided assistance to children, their families and the community by offering home foster care, adoption, therapeutic placement, supportive housing for youth aging out of foster care and other support services. Related services include family preservation, HIV/AIDS services, family support services and after school programs for children and their families in Central Harlem, Washington Heights, Southeast Queens and Far Rockaway.
Pictures 1-4: Harlem Dowling Executive Director, Dorothy Worrell (2nd left) is given a supporting T-shirt from Harlem Dowling teen support staff. Pictured Left to right are Jonathan Torres; Daijha Daley; HD Specialized Service Director, Cherie Blae; and (far right) Ratesha Haynesworth Pix 2: United Urban League was one of many organizations that set-up tables during the event. Pictured left to right are Diana Coleman; with your associates Lenny Copeland & Damaris Patterson Pix 3: performing members of Mind Builders Creative Art Center’s Positive Youth Troupe Pix 4: Harlem Dowling specialized service representatives and youth volunteers: pictured left to right are – Moody Bennett; Jonathan Torres; office associate, Star Love; Daijha Daley; Kahri Baker; Health educator technician, Earl Whitted; and director, Cherie Blae