translation agency

PR Newswire
National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps Program Members Honored At

July 13, 2001
WASHINGTON, July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty-three National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps Program members from across the nation were honored today at the 2001 MetLife Foundation Caring Counts Awards for their service efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"The work that the AmeriCorps members do is priceless in the fight against HIV/AIDS as well in the communities and the people they serve," said Kandy Ferree, president and chief executive officer, National AIDS Fund. "The Caring Counts Awards celebrate the spirit of service and commitment AmeriCorps members demonstrate in educating communities about HIV/AIDS and assisting individuals living with HIV/AIDS."

National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps Program members serve a minimum of 1700 hours in a full-time capacity providing community-based HIV prevention education, HIV testing and counseling, and quality-of-life assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS. AmeriCorps members shared their experiences from the past year, and several members were recognized for their outstanding participation at a ceremony held at the Double Tree Park Terrace Hotel in Washington, DC. Each AmeriCorps member was recognized with a Caring Counts Award Certificate, a special gift, and will be honored in a Caring Counts Yearbook that will offer insights into the AmeriCorps program and their year of service.

The awards, sponsored by MetLife Foundation were hosted by actress/activist Judith Light. "I am so proud to be able to share the stage and honor these individuals that have shared their time, energy, and knowledge to give back to communities," said Light.

"MetLife Foundation is delighted to recognize these dedicated AmeriCorps members whose leadership and community service is critical in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least half of all new HIV infections in the United States are among people under 25. In order to improve HIV prevention among young people, CDC research has shown that a wide range of activities must be implemented in communities to reduce the toll HIV/AIDS take on young Americans.

"The Fund's AmeriCorps Program is a tribute to the commitment of corporations, individuals, and communities working together in reducing HIV/AIDS," said Victor Barnes, director, CDC Business Responds to AIDS/Labor Responds to AIDS.

Special recognition was given to Kathleen Murphy of AmeriCorps' Team Charlotte and Terry Taylor and Melinda Foster, both of Team Tulsa for their two years of national service in the National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps program.

Murphy said of her two years of service, "The experiences alone have added so much to who I am that I feel more confident that I can accomplish all that I have set out to accomplish. I think that AmeriCorps will continue to impact my life for quite some time. It has given me direction in what I want to do in life and to know really know what my priorities are."

Taylor, a grandmother, spoke about her experience. "I loved working at Planned Parenthood, and wanted to return for a second year to continue building the relationships I had been building with the clients," she said. "My counseling position met all of my expectations, and validated my desire to continue my career goal of becoming a professional counselor."

Foster, also a member of the Tulsa team, said, "Working at Community of Hope, has given me a well-rounded view of HIV/AIDS. I have been able to experience people living with AIDS from their physical, emotional and spiritual aspects, and I have further developed my listening and counseling skills."

AmeriCorps members who attended the most team day events (where they participate in community service projects or receive additional training) were also presented were special gifts. Honorees included, Kari Forde-Anderson and Shannon Gordhamer of Team Charlotte, Elaine Flores of Team Chicago, Randy Banks of Team Detroit, Jamie Baker and Terry Taylor of Team Tulsa, and Matthew Collins-Gibson of Team DC.

Each of the year's team coordinators who took on an additional responsibility planning, coaching, guiding and supporting their teams were also honored for their commitment. Team coordinators included, Kathleen Murphy of Team Charlotte, Carrie Holland of Team Chicago, Beth Campbell of Team Detroit, Kara Jones of Team Tulsa, Taylor Ransom of Team DC.

The National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps Program was the first national-direct program funded by the Corporation for National Service focusing exclusively on HIV/AIDS. Currently in its seventh year, the AmeriCorps Program provides educational awards and a small living stipend in exchange for community service.

SOURCE National AIDS Fund Web Site: