Our Members

Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, Inc.

Brooklyn

The Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, Inc. (Shorefront Y), founded in 1949, has a long history of providing a range of social, recreational, educational and cultural programming for individuals and families in the most southern tier of Brooklyn.

Diane

Diane, a Brooklyn native, found out that she was HIV positive in 2001, when she was working as a certified nurse assistant for Partners in Care, a homecare agency in New York. A year ago, Diane accepted a position as a peer educator with CAMBA’s HIV/AIDS Anti-Stigma Program.

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.”