AIDS Resource started serving a small area of PA in the early 1980’s, and has grown to cover 6 counties in north central PA. As a member of the community I have seen AIDS Resource grow to help hundereds of people. It’s an agency that truly cares about the people it serves and the community as a whole. It’s an amazing resource to have in our area.
This non-profit organization formed in the late 1980's in response to local needs for people living with HIV and/or AIDS and their families. At that time, there were few to none services in this largely rural region. The organization formed volunteer buddy programs, support programs, community trainings and fund-raisers. It eventually evolved into a funded agency that has become a major beacon of hope for this community. I have served as a volunteer in fund-raising, community prevention and on the board for many years. I have found the staff respectful, friendly, approachable, highly informed, and one of the few agencies/groups in our region that actively serves and provides outreach to the LGBTQ community. Because this is area consists of small towns and villages, the grapevine can be very prolific and drive many "closeted" individuals further into hiding. The marginalized LGBTQ community fears family rejection, harassment, job firings, and housing discrimination. AIDS Resource has assisted, provided consultation, meeting space and people power for area LGBTQ individuals and groups. Last year, AIDS Resource provided consultation for a small group of community activists who decided to form a local chapter of ACTUP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power). Although the ACTUP volunteers were not associated with AIDS Resource they were helpful and provided numerous educational and informational resources. I have several close friends living with HIV or AIDS in this area. AIDS Resource provides different types of services for these friends including rental assistance, utility payments, case management, and in one case substance abuse counseling. I also have another friend who recently attend their free PrEP Clinic and received free medication to remain HIV negative. I would highly recommend any person living with HIV or AIDS or their family members or friends to utilize AIDS Resource. I have always known them to be incredibly sensitive to the confidentiality needs associated with living in a small town. Also, AIDS Resource dealt with a potential "hostile" takeover and closing by an AIDS Coalition and AIDS agency based west of here. They represented Williamsport and our region heroically and helped all of us explain our stories to legislators, PA Dept. of Health officials and the media. They continue to deal with Coalition representatives who are hostile and apparently even attempt to undermine our local AIDS organization. But, AIDS Resource staff and volunteers continue to help us maintain unity and cohesiveness. This is a difficult task but AIDS Resource is up to it. They deserve a 5-star rating for their direct services.
In 2006, through routine,periodic testing, I found out that I was HIV-positive. Because of my knowledge of their services and caring touch from helping a late friend, I went to them for help. I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that doing that was the best move I ever made.
For eleven years now, they've helped me navigate through the hurdles and the red tape that are inherent in HIV-related support services, healthcare, housing, extra nutritional support, and any issue that I came across.
I've had the same case manager this entire time. She has been there with me through it all, during good times and bad times. I don't know what I would've done without her. Sometimes all it takes is an understanding ear, and I'm sure I've talked her ear almost completely off on more than one occasion.
Over the years, I've gotten to know all of the staff at AIDS Resource. They are some of the most caring, genuine, kind, generous, compassionate, and all-around amazing people I've ever met in my life. I'm so happy that I've had the opportunity to meet such good people.
They have definitely shown me that there are still people in this world who are willing to roll up their sleeves and lace up their running shoes and actually make a real, tangible, positive difference in the lives of others.
Their staff continually improves upon their services. They routinely add new and innovative services. They've kept up with the times regarding new prevention tools as well. For just shy of thirty years, they've served their communities with open hearts and open arms. Their non-judgmental approach to matters is key to making everything work.
I feel honored that they're in my life, and I'm so proud to know them.