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Victory Programs’ Boston Living Center honored 30 years of service to community members living with HIV/AIDS at our annual Celebration of Life! This year’s theme, “Homecoming,” recognized the many ways in which the Center has served as a “Home away from Home” for so many members over the years.
Thanks to medical advances in the treatment of HIV and services reflecting the changing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, thousands of individuals who have walked through the doors of the Boston Living Center had much to rejoice about at our 2019 Homecoming celebration. The event was free to anyone living with HIV/AIDS, and their loved ones.
Celebration of Life dates back to 1988, when a small group of friends living with HIV gathered to share a meal and solidarity in the face of what was then an emerging, deadly disease. Celebration of Life is also our largest annual fundraiser for the Boston Living Center. The funds raised help to ensure the life-affirming services remain available for nearly 1,000 Boston Living Center members each year.
We would like to thank all of the dedicated donors, volunteers, and staff who made this year’s event so special. Thanks to you, we were able to provide a beautiful celebration for more than 450 guests, and at event close, we had already raised more than $110,000 for the Boston Living Center. Donations are still coming in through the peer-to-peer fundraising efforts of our amazing TIPS servers. You may still support the event here: https://give.vpi.org/CelebrateLife19
Peter Daniel Clark founded the Celebration of Life and was an early member of the Boston Living Center. Each year, Peter’s sister helps us honor an individual or organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the HIV/AIDS community by presenting them with the Peter Daniel Clark Award.
This year’s Peter Daniel Clark award honoree is Paul Glass, a long-time advocate for better access to HIV/AIDS care and prevention services for at-risk individuals and people living with HIV/AIDS. In particular, Paul has dedicated himself to improving access to healthcare for elder LGBTQ+ people of color. His ongoing work with AIDS services organizations and advocacy groups has ensured that the specific needs of elder LGBTQ+ people of color are considered in the ever-evolving landscape of health equity work in Boston, and beyond.
Brenda Bellizeare was a member and staff member of the Boston Living Center. She was also a powerful voice for the HIV/AIDS community in Boston and beyond. In honor of her legacy, Boston Living Center members select of their peers each year who is on an inspirational journey to recognize with the “Brenda Bellizeare Better It Gets Award.”
This year’s Brenda Bellizeare “BIG” Better It Gets award honoree is William Chang, a member of the Boston Living Center who inspires other members by volunteering daily in the dining room and making a point to greet members and guest as they arrive at the Center. His positive, welcoming, outlook lifts spirits and sets the tone for other members on how to give back and be considerate of others.