By: Tyree Sanders
Hello Everyone! My name is Tyree Sanders and I am the new HIV/ STI Test Counselor, CTR Coordinator for Greater Columbus Mpowerment Center, GCMC. Since coming on board at GCMC, things have certainly been a whirlwind when it comes to becoming acclimated with the GCMC family. Between meeting new staff members, the Core Group members, attending social events, preparing for a visit from the CDC and laying out the plans for new testing hours and future events at the center; I sure have had my plate full!
This is not my first rodeo with GCMC / ARC. Back in 2011-2012 I served as a volunteer for ARC and was a Core Group member for GCMC. I left to fully commit myself to working as a Certified Pharmacy Technician, CPhT, in various settings. When the job opportunity to work at GCMC as the HIV Test Counselor was presented, I made sure that it wouldn’t pass me by. As the HIV Test counselor I’ll be responsible for implementing innovative ways to attract GCMC’s targeted demographic (MSM of color between the ages 13-29) through our doors for testing with the ultimate goal of retention for the Mpowerment program and / or the CRCS program. I am not the only new face walking about the GCMC hallways. Andrew Delollo is our new CRCS Coordinator. He just moved to Columbus, OH from New York where he worked as a prevention specialist with the MSM community. Andrew will be running the CRCS program for MSM of color ages 13-29. Comprehensive risk counseling and Services (CRCS) focuses on risk reduction surrounding HIV and STIs, and is a great way to learn more about how to keep yourself safe while having fun. Andrew’s Contact information is: (614) 926-4135 email@example.com and my contact information is: (614) 926-4132 firstname.lastname@example.org .
GCMC’s core group members are a group of vibrant and colorful young men who all come from various backgrounds. The core group members are the face of GCMC and they collectively perpetuate GCMC’s Mission & Vision . I’ve learned a lot from my interactions with them. Andrew and I both look forward to working with them as GCMC grows! Back in October, GCMC hosted a Halloween party and it turned out to be a hit! The Halloween party consisted of food, music, games, and a raffle at the end of the night!
In November GCMC hosted a holiday potluck, full of home cooked meals, eggnog, and sweet treats that would make you smack your mama! Also in November, GCMC went on a bowling excursion and the competition was fierce! The event took place at Star Lanes Polaris ! Another thing that was special about this outing is that Veronica from the CDC accompanied us and got the opportunity to interact with the Core Group members and see firsthand how we do things here in Columbus!
Looking ahead in the immediate and not so distant future, GCMC has a lot of changes going on and events happening. As of December 8th 2014, GCMC will be offering HIV / STI testing Monday-Thursday from 11am-8pm. So spread the word! December 26th 2014 will be the Holiday Party from 6pm-9pm, be sure to bring a friend! Thursday December 18th from 7pm-9pm will be our last Core Group meeting of the year. Core Group members make sure you all come ready with creative ideas and ready to plan and make 2015 the best year yet! On Thursday January 29th from 6pm-8pm will be GCMC’s 2015 open. The purpose of this event is to let the community know of the services that we provide and to introduce our now complete staff! Tuesday February 10th from 6pm-8pm will be when GCMC recognizes National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day, NBHAAD. Last few months have been extremely eye-opening and rewarding. 2015 will be the best year yet at GCMC!