I am very pleased to recommend/review the START Program at Westminster. The sense of community that is present overall in the Church is also reflected in the START Program via the tireless efforts of the Program Director. START provides HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B/C harm reduction support for the community; more specifically for the clients served. This support includes, but is not limited to, providing information and education, HIV testing and referral services. The Director maintains active community outreach including attending Congressional and local hearings to keep abreast of any changes that will impact his ability to effectively facilitate the administrative requirements of the START Program. Consequently, the Director and program staff are able to provide the best services and information available to the clients they serve.
For the record, I was a Secretary at the Church during the beginning stages of this Program. Thus, I have maintained an active interest in observing how the Director has developed and managed this program. He has served tirelessly with dedication and integrity. To sum, I believe that the START Program as provided by the Westminster P.C. and managed by the Director, is worthy of recognition and should serve as a "model" for how non-profit programs should be operated.
This organization offers stigma-free extremely valuable and hard to find services to those with HIV in DC. The founder has dedicated his career to HIV since the early 90s with one of the large international NGOs that first tackled AIDS and he has taken his commitment to his home city in an impressive way that is saving lives daily and providing hope to those who might otherwise be stigmatized and without these vital services.
I have been affiliated with START for almost two years now. One of the first things I did when I learned about their efforts to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and blood born challenges, was to take a voluntary HIV test. Even though I was almost 100% sure I did not have any blood born challenges, I wanted to show my support to START and promote people getting tested no matter what. During my test, the START team was confident in their work and well informed. The experience mad me understand how important it was for them to continue to do the work in the Washington DC area and inspired me to help them with fundraising initiatives. Over the past decade, I've helped to raise awareness and funds for various non profits. This work has been eye and heart opening and I am so grateful to have been exposed to this work early on because I know it will affect how I am in the world for the rest of my life. Instead of thinking about what the world owes me, I instead consider what I can do for the world. Service is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about START and their work. START is made up of a dedicated team of people who go out into the community every day and provide, testing, resources, and information regarding these blood born challenges and they also help people see they can live a full and empowered life no matter what. START's work is needed in the District as the city has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the entire nation and as a city native, I take that statistic pretty personally. I believe STARTS grass roots and face to face efforts are making and will continue to make a difference in the world. I am in awe of their dedication, stamina, and how they believe in the people they serve. I hope to continue to help them with their mission and work for a long time to come. Thank you START team for inspiring me to focus on what truly matters in life and to share my compassion no matter what.
START@ Westminster is a nonprofit in SW DC involved in, among other things HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C harm reduction principles. The organization is also committed to providing education, HIV testing and referral services. I interned at START in the spring/summer of 2013. It is a young organization (it turned 5 while I was there), and in such a short time has significantly impacted the lives of its target population. There is a sense of community belonging, and its staff, especially the director is dedicated and passionate about what they do. The director wears many hats, and is always on the move, whether it be organizing education sessions, attending congressional hearings/meetings, writing grants/abstracts/reviews, coordinating other activities at the church, he always did things with great aplomb. (He did not miss a beat when one time, I showed up at work with 3 kids in tow!) I particularly liked the fact that although they are part of church, they are non discriminatory and welcoming to anyone who walks through the door. (There is a display of free condoms at the door for anyone). The whole place particularly lights up on Jazz/Blues night, with a lot of good food, music, dancing and laughter.