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Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center (LSNC) provides services to people of all ages on the mid-West Side of Manhattan, running two child care centers and co-sponsoring an alternative high school with the NYC Board of Education.
As a peer educator, Diane has speaking engagements across Brooklyn – at health fairs; elementary, middle, and high schools; colleges; community-based organizations; senior centers; and diagnostic and treatment facilities. During the presentations, Diane educates her audiences about HIV and talks about ways to cope with the virus. Diane’s peer educators group also conducts street outreach and collaborates with CAMBA’s theater troupe to create skits dramatizing and critiquing the stigma around HIV/AIDS.
“The reception to the peer educators is always fantastic,” Diane declared. “I feel welcome wherever I go and get the sense that I really help the people I speak to. It is very rewarding to be able to reach people and make a difference.”
On a personal level, Dian’s experience at CAMBA has been critical in helping her accept and open up about her own experiences. “I love CAMBA. The women’s group, the peer educators, and other people I have met from the organization are incredibly supportive. They are like an extended family. I am just happy to be here and to be part of the organization. Before I wasn’t able to talk freely; I was afraid of who would see me. Now I believe this work is necessary, I believe it is what I am supposed to do with my life. Before I felt alone and afraid; now I have found confidence and my voice.”
Central Brooklyn has one of the highest concentrations of HIV positive people in the United States. “There are so many people living in shame and fear, and countless others who face severe discrimination,” Diane explained. “Many people don’t have access to services or don’t even know those services exist. These people deserve and need an atmosphere that is healthy and compassionate. I feel blessed to have found one.”