Northland Cares has planned a fundraising event in tandem with World AIDS Day to help with moving its Prescott office to a new location. The nonprofit tests for HIV and has assisted HIV/AIDS-positive people in Yavapai County for almost 20 years.
The event on Wednesday, December 1 at 5:30pm in the Elks Theatre Crystal Hall will feature dinner by Goods from the Garden, a 20-minute video about the group’s mission and achievements, and entertainment featuring music by singer/songwriter Jim Sobo, who brings acoustic melodies and charismatic vibes to his music.
World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988, and the theme for 2021 observance is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone's Voice.” Each year organizations and individuals worldwide draw attention to the HIV epidemic, work to build HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for greater response to move toward Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America.
With expanding programs and a growing staff, the organization needs more space in a facility tailored for medical purposes, as well as one that can accommodate its staff. “We’ve outgrown our space,” said Vonda Chisholm, Executive Director.
The group has two on-staff doctors and several medical case managers and patient care assistants. To fulfill its mission, which includes prevention, Northland Cares depends on grants and corporate donations, as well as donations from the public. It also has an office in Cottonwood.
The move is “a big concern right now,” Chisholm said, primarily because the foundation of its building in The Crossings has been compromised by erosion, causing cracks in the walls. The group has to move out so it can be repaired.
The good news is that it needs to make the move anyway because it’s expanding its outreach and education department and needs more room for staff. The situation currently works more like musical offices, with medical technicians moving as other staff, such as the bookkeeper, need space. Three staff members are stuffed into one small office, Chisholm said.
“We’re trying to double our space from 2,200 square feet, and we’re looking to buy or lease, and take the best opportunity we can,” Chisholm said. The group is looking for 4,000-6,000 square feet of space.
When she joined the group at the end of 2020, Chisholm said she decided it was important to create a strategic plan. Part of that is to make people aware of the group’s important mission to improve quality of life for those who have HIV/AIDS and educate the public about Northland Cares services.
“Unfortunately, most people in Prescott don’t know who we are, where we are or what we do,” Chisholm said. “Preventing HIV, other STIs and Hep C are part of that.”
The non profit works with Sonoran Prevention Works, which assists those who use drugs and hands out clean needles as well as offering primary care.
“We need to educate the public on HIV so that it’s not so stigmatized,” Chisholm said, noting that many people don’t know about medication to prevent AIDS and keep viral loads down so HIV is no longer detectable in their blood and people can’t spread it. “We want to eliminate the fear and ignorance,” Chisholm said.
For tickets call 928-776-4612 or visitnorthland-cares.ticketleap.com/world-aids-day-dinner.