About AIDS

Ten Years and Counting: Volunteers Are Still ASA's Backbone

AIDS Services of Austin was founded 10 years ago by volunteers. Much has changed since then, but one thing has remained constant: ASA uses volunteers -- lots and lots of volunteers -- to perform its demanding mission because in Texas AIDS has always been short-funded. And in this age of government funding cites, that volunteer assistance is more important than ever.

At a recent national convention of AIDS agencies, it emerged that ASA has the highest volunteer-to-staff ratio of any agency there. Twice what New York has. Three times that of San Francisco. We depend on a whopping 11 volunteers for each staff member! And like those famous potato chips, we always need more.

To enter the wonderful realm of ASA volunteers, most people attend out monthly Volunteer Orientation, which surveys the essential issues facing HIV-positive people and introduces ASA's programs. They then are worked into the volunteer system according to their interests, degree of time committed and scheduling availability.

We can accomodate everyone who wants to help, from students who can drop by occassionally on Thursday evenings to stuff envelopes; up to the retired physician willing to trainfellow healthcare professionals.

Currently, we especially need "direct care" volunteers to do hands-on work with HIV-positive people. That may be practical tasks, such as shopping and cooking, or it may be primarily emotional support. Right now we especially need people to provide transportation by car to medical appointments, etc. Come give us you most valuable resources: time, effort, and compassionate commitment. Satisfaction guaranteed!

-- Sandy Bartlett

Public INformation/Education Coordinator, ASA

ASA Info Line: 458-AIDS

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