AIDS Interfaith Residential Services (AIRS) on Mar. 7, 2010 hosted a successful 9th Annual Oscar Night Baltimore Gala at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
Oscar Night® America (ONA) is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ grassroots program that enables charities to host glamorous fund-raising parties across the U.S.
AIRS’ gala was one of the the 50 nationally sanctioned Oscar Nights Parties.
This year’s event, themed “A Night at the Movies,” attracted people from all walks of life, including the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who presented the 2010 AIRS Urban Legend Award to Dr. Robert Redfield.
Dr. Redfield, co-founder of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine was the first to demonstrate the heterosexual transmission of the HIV virus, and developed the first clinical staging system used around the world today.
But one man who stands behind the initiative of hosting this glamour fund-raising party in Baltimore for a worthy cause is F.T. Burden, president and CEO of AIRS/Empire Homes of Maryland, Inc.
Despite a busy gala night, Mr. Burden sat down to talk exclusively to Ib’s Blog about his organization and the difference it is making on the lives of young people in Baltimore.
Mr. Burden said: “We just believe that the housing that we provide is the stabilizing factor and once we can get that in place, we can then begin working with people to reach whatever goals they want to reach.”
AIRS has a number of programs such as the City Steps Resource Center, STOMP – Popular Opinion Leader, Carriage house – Transitional Living Program For Youth, Geraldine Young Family Life Center, and Restoration Gardens.
The City Steps program provides case management, emergency services, life skills education and referrals to housing for youth between the ages of 14 and 24, who are either homeless or are at risk of contracting HIV.
“Our City Steps program is very youth focused,” Burden said. “Some of the young people aren’t infected [with HIV], the majority aren’t, but are at risk of and we are trying to prevent them from [that].
“And so a lot of that work that we do with youth is almost all prevention related.”
Dorothea Townes, a former AIRS Consumer, who now works at the Carriage house, gave a touching testimony about her life and how AIRS has contributed to her development.
“The incredible journey I am living has been filled with extreme high and low moments that led me to dark places where I was in a group of drug addiction, became homeless and contracted HIV,” Townes said.
Talking about the success of his organization, Burden said: “The success story really comes from the success of the people that we serve.”
Click on the play button below to listen to the entire interview with Mr. Burden.
. Annual Oscar Night Baltimore Gala Celebrates Noteworthiness And Raises Funds For The City’s Homeless
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