I am a former resident of GBAPP’s Housing for Success. To my mind; the services and support I was given while staying there was very influential in my developing success …. When I first entered their program; I did not want to be living on my own and was suffering from major depression. While I knew I wanted to better myself; I was hesitant to put in the work to improve my situation. Yet the staff at GBAPP saw something within me and believed in me so they gave me all I needed, including care coordination for services to help me overcome depression … To this day I thank the staff for all they have given me. GBAPP’s staff helped prepare me for the success I have achieved so far and I’m currently furthering myself pursing independent housing and education. I have recently enrolled in an Information Technology program to earn the credits needed to enter the work force.
Being totally honest with myself, I have to freely admit I have been in active addiction for over 30 years.I also struggle with several other mental health challenges, and finding the right case manager for me has not been easy. I tend to wear out my welcome at most places where I have sought treatment. I became involved with GBAPP as a last resort effort just before giving up completely. the case managers at GBAPP have incredible compassion and patience. They took my needs into special consideration to make certain I received the care I needed for the HIV and the other co-occurrences that I struggle with. It is not unrealistic to say; the GBAPP program changed my life.
For starters, we all know being a parent is one of, if not, the most difficult job anyone can have… When I found out I was going to be a father, I was at a loss for words. I wondered if I would be a father, as opposed to that man who isn’t around. My son was on his way, yet I didn’t have the slightest clue what to do. I was lost…but then a door opened… when I met my Teen Father mentor; Sal… GBAPP’s Teen Father program taught me with the skills and support I needed to be a successful father figure …. This program is needed everywhere there are teen fathers. It helped me maintain a positive state of mind and keep a level head. This program also helped me financially. My mentor opened many doors and opportunities for me He was, and still is, available to me 24/7…. In 20 years, if someone asks my son, “What kind of father do you have?” I want him to say, “I have the best father in the world. He was always there for me, never left me alone, always showed me love, care, discipline and above all how to be a man.
Change will not
come if we wait for
some other person
or some other time.
We are the ones we've
been waiting for.
We are the change
that we seek.
Before I went to MI Casa (a program predating our current housing programs) as part of GBAPP; I was in a few Foster Homes. My experiences in those Foster Homes weren’t that great …. When I became pregnant and had a choice between two other group homes, I chose GBAPP’s MI Casa … When I moved in; it was an adjustment, however I could feel the love there. The staff cared about the well-being of my child and myself. MI Casa became my home and some of the staff became family to me …. The staff taught me how to care for my child, made certain I finished High School and prepared me for college. I learned the necessary life skills to be able to take care of myself and my child. I’m now 26 and I still go to visit the staff at GBAPP …. They made a huge difference in my life and will always have a special place in my heart …
For me, the first challenges of my positive HIV diagnosis was dealing with the aspect of negative stigma that typically occurs with those who are not well informed.I feel this is particularly true when women such as myself are positive. I was having serious difficulties with my family for this very reason. Most of this negativity is from free and lack of knowledge of causes of transmission, treatment options, and general misconceptions. Luckily for me, I found a wonderful case manger at GBAPP. She not only helped me get the right treatment and care for both my physical and mental well being; she also helped me explain to my family the complexity and all aspects of my diagnosis. I participated in GBAPP's HIV Advocacy Institute and now proudly work as a advocate for others who are facing the same challenges.