I was invited to take part in the resiliency workshop this year. I went into it not know what to expect. I found part of it to be very healing. I’m glad that I went and I would suggest to anybody if they have the opportunity, please take the time to seek out life group and it’s amazing services. I would give it more than five stars if I could.
Life Group LA saved my life 4 years ago and continues to be my foundation (as well as a resource) to stand upon as a long term survivor. I was introduced to them through Being Alive and through their literal bath of knowledge, tools, discussion, story telling, yoga, writing, laughter, food, fun, experts from all over the world (a la International AIDS Conference level), I was able to come to grips with why I was not functioning in the world around me. I was suffering from PTSD as a long term Survivor. Life Group LA was the first agency in LA to take this on, address it, work with clients over their weekend seminars, and make it part of their curriculum on a permanent basis. State of the Art.
They are so connected to the Community's needs that they even put up the first of it's kind and flagship model, frequently replicated across the south land "Resiliency and Self Care During Troubled Times" one day seminar for the LGBT and their Allies Community. So necessary and ahead of others that care providers, psychologists, psychiatrists, community leaders and community members attended and then were able to take those tools to the community.
Anyone and Everyone infected or affected by HIV, short term, long term simply MUST attend a Seminar. They will be forever grateful and empowered and armed with knowledge and tools.
YEA LIFE GROUP LA!
Who would think that creating a space and bringing people together to simply offer of themselves would be the catalyst for such a deeply personal and profound experience for all - clients (affected or infected), volunteers (Angels in action), and presenters (doctors, health care workers, social workers, survivors, teachers, chaplains and more). Such is POZ Life Weekend Seminar. Talk about the human experience working at full potential. My definition of a true Spiritual Awakening - love in ACTION!
I tested HIV positive 8 weeks ago, met this group at LA Pride in June and was interested in one of their horseback fundraisers and took a brochure. I was not HIV at the time but was interested and wanted to help since I did know people who were. Now I was in a panic and had to get help. I called a couple of places and did not get a call back. I got tested while drunk in a mobile van in Hollywood and they were trying to help me but it felt like they just wanted to get me in their system, it did not feel genuine. I called Life Group and got a call back within the hour and the girl I spoke to was very reassuring and helpful. She asked me what I thought I needed, gave me lots of resources and then also gave me a number of other resources I had not even thought about possibly needing that I found I do need help with. She asked me to follow up with her if I was not getting what I needed and she would step in to make some calls for me. She did not even know me and I did not even have to go to their office and she still helped me and spent like 45 minutes in the phone with me. I am now pretty much connected to medical care and medications, I have insurance luckily. I called her back and she gave me some referrals to social groups where I could go hang out with other people who would understand my situation. I am not in LA so its hard to get to these gatherings but I will try in the future. Right now, everything seems status quo and I am still able to work and maintain my current relationships and friendships. I hope to go to the POZ Seminar in January. I now know the girls name is Sunnie and she is the director.
Talk about an organization who cares more than just 9-5 Monday to Friday! I reached out to Life Group on a Saturday night about midnight after sitting on my test results for a day. I needed to talk to someone about what the rest of my life might look like. I got a call Sunday morning which I didn't expect so I was shocked. Sunnie called me and took time to listen and shared that they had a seminar coming up in a few weeks that she wanted me to come to so I registered. She also offered me referrals to Being Alive LA so that I could get immediately connected with a case manager to make sure I had all my ducks in a row. It's been about 6 weeks now, I am settled emotionally, I made some new friends at the seminar and have a great case manager who is walking me through the steps to get what I need. I feel like I can live life and not have this diagnosis slow me down. I am as invincible as I was before and they helped me know that was possible.
My therapist recommended I go to this event since she had a number of clients go and they had great experiences. I looked for reviews and found your site. I went ahead and registered for the seminar in January in West Hollywood. I was really nervous about attending. I had just tested HIV+ 2 months before and had not come to terms with this. I am a straight woman, never thought this disease could affect me, how naive I was. After talking to the staff at Life Group and feeling no judgment at all from them and how welcoming they were, I was set at ease. Everything I experienced at this workshop gave me faith and hope and lots of info. Everyone was very welcoming and supportive. I made a few friends who I have been meeting up with for social stuff and support since then and I am no longer feeling like this disease is something I cant deal with. It's not always easy but reflecting back on the things I learned, I use the tools to center me, my mind and get me back on track. Thank you Life Group LA
This group KNOWS.. I mean KNOWS how to help people find peace with their HIV diagnosis. The presenters are top notch professionals who are welcoming and kind and know their stuff. The volunteers are from another planet that must be called "Love and Hugs" They were there for us at every step, every turn and every break through and break down. I can't afford much but donated a little money so to pay it forward. I want to come back and take the volunteer training they offer so I can pay it forward even more. Thank you Life Group, you are really LIFE for so many.
It's been a couple years since I went to the POZ seminar and now I am ready to come back and volunteer. I had been recently diagnosed with HIV but so sick I was almost at full blown AIDS. The seminar gave me so much support and info that I regained some confidence and took back my health both physically and emotionally by finding a doctor I had better communication with, understanding what my lab results meant and how the medication worked. I was able to forgive myself and others, and in general, just be a more open and loving person. I still have not disclosed my status to all my family, but I know I will soon and I know that Life Group will be there for my family if they want to attend a weekend to learn more. Thank you for giving me back what I thought I'd never have again. Life.
Since attending this weekend workshop there is rarely a day I don't reflect on my experience. I have made friends that do not judge me, I have learned how best to take care of myself and how to help my doctors and nurses make sure I am getting the best care for my situation. For the first time, during the weekend I was given the opportunity to do a 12 step meeting. This was something I know I should have looked into sooner but this safe space allowed me to feel comfortable going in with other participants I had met during the weekend. I left with the knowledge of what the program was about and now have friends I can connect with and go to meetings with outside this group. There isn't a soul alive that is HIV+ or a caregiver who should not go to this seminar. If not for themselves, to be of service to other brothers and sisters going through rougher times. Here's a video that describes what they do.
Last month i went to this retreat for the first time, referred by my therapist I was scared to go, but was greeted warmly when I arrived and my nerves were settled. I met some new friends and people who I can reach out to when I have questions about anything. They saw me at my most raw and still accepted me and supported me. I learned I am not damaged goods and that I have a lot to offer others. I appreciate that after the seminar the volunteers called me to see if I was okay and if I needed anything. I needed help with my utility bills and food they gave me some places to call. A week later they called me back to see if I was able to get what I needed and I had. This is a caring group and I appreciate all they do for us.
I'll never forget my experience that I had at a POZ weekend. I have to agree 100% with the writer of this article. ( http://www.aumag.org/2016/04/21/sunnie-rose-berger-advocate/ ) The warmth and beautiful energy of the room and everyone in it was a feeling I've never felt before. You're such a wonderful person Sunnie Rose Berger and you have touched many souls with your love and generosity. Angel's like you are hard to come by. You rock!!
Such an amazing organization ! Talk about the many types of support they provide. It's really an organization where one can walk in and let down their guards and learn to heal. Thank you guys !!
This workshop really transformed my life. I am newly diagnosed and felt isolated and despair before this weekend. Now I feel hope and know that joy is possible. I feel love in my heart instead of loneliness. Thank you.
There is no agency that does or can do what this agency can do. They changed me and I was then able to transform my life. Group has more compassion than the people who volunteer for life group.
This place really helped me get my life together when I needed it the most. Life wouldn't be the same without them.
After suffering in silence and shame for over 25 years from living with HIV. Someone suggested i attend a weekend seminar. That seminar transformed me and allowed me to start the life I now have. I was able to, for the first time, talk about being diagnosed in the Navy and the way I was treated. The shame and isolation I experienced both emotionally and physically was paralyzing. At that weekend the volunteers provided a safe, loving, supportive environment. The facilitators were amazing and also allowed me the space and time to begin healing that shame. From the first phone call with Sunnie Rose the experience was incredibly loving.
I have worked with other agencies and recieved services, but none provide the service, or the support that Life Group does as well. The reason is that for the first time I was in a room with those affected by the disease and got to hear how my disease affected them. I was so isolated and had no idea that my family was as well. This experience coupled with the compassion with which they approach and provide services was the key to my returning to life.
I went to school and recieved my Masters Degree and I am currently applying to Ph.D. programs. This experience informs all that I do, and have done.
There is no other agency that provides this service, this support, and this compassion. They do not duplicate services of any kind, there is no where else to get what they provide except from them. Their work needs to be available to more, and accessible by many.
Life's are not just changed, but saved by this program.
One weekend CAN change your life forever. Without the resources and support I received from LifeGroup I would not be here today. I now understand who I am and what my choices in life are. The generosity of the donation of money and support to LifeGroup has helped me gain control of my life by giving me the skills I needed to navigate insurance issues, medication choices, doctors, counseling, nutrition and care. I cannot thank LIFEGROUP enough for their time and volunteers. I'm alive because of Sunny and this life changing organization.
I went to the weekend seminar feeling afraid and alone but I left with new insight and friends and a yearning for more in life which I now know I can have. I am grateful for the volunteers and staff who dedicate themselves to making this safe space possible for us all.
I WAS CURIOUS AS TO WHAT 'THE LIFE GROUP' WAS ALL ABOUT... AND EXPRESSED MY INTERESTED IN ATTENDING. SUNNY ROSE CALLED ME PERSONALLY, (WHICH MADE MY MIND UP IMMEDIATELY) WHAT WITH THE EXURBERANCE, AND BEAUTIFUL DEMEANER, AND PASSION. I LIVE HERE IN PALM SPRINGS, AND THE 'WEEK-END' EVENT TOOK PLACE ON THE MARX ESTATE..... ALL THE VOLUNTEERS WERE WONDERFUL, CARING INDIVIDUALS, BUT I HAVE TO SAY BEING GREETED, WELCOMED AND HUGGED BY SUNNY, STARTED THE WHOLE BALL ROLLING.
I CAME AWAY WITH AN OVERALL SENSE OF SELF-EMPOWERMENT, CONFIDENCE AND LOVING MY LIFE (I HAD BEEN SUFFERING FROM TERRIBLE DEPRESSION), THROUGH ALL THE WORKSHOPS A FEW OF WHICH WERE ON HEALTH ISSUES WITH HIV+, DIET/EXCERCISE, SEXUAL PRACTICES, DATING, WORKSHOPS IN DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE, AND LOVING WHO WE ARE AND HOW MUCH I CAN BRING TO THE TABLE......
IT WAS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, AND I WOULD LOVE TO VOLUNTEER TO HELP HAVE A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP HERE IN THE DESERT. ALEX IRVINE
I participated in The Life Group weekend in April 2011. I knew about the seminar from my previous volunteer work. I had spent time raising a child and I wanted to re-focus my life on what was important to me. The Life Group weekend was the perfect place for me. I re-aligned my priorities to best serve my health and well being. I reconnected with committed compassionate caregivers serving a worthy goal. I found myself to be wise and powerful when I had lost hope. I have immense gratitude for the synergy of The Life Group and it's volunteers.
Since that time I have become a volunteer myself. I give because I have been given much. Thank you.